Slip n Slides not the best way to stay cool in the summer

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at

A few weeks ago, when it was only about 92 degrees on a daily basis, I turned on our sprinkler system one afternoon, thinking only the grass would get wet.

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

I had forgotten about the white-hot attraction between shooting water and kids.

Pretty soon, four or five of our neighbors’ children had joined Ty for rollicking runs through our yard. They alternated from trying to dodge the water to standing right on top of the stream, absorbing every drop that shot skyward.

They laughed and smiled and screamed and danced through the water, wrapped up in the blissful joy of childhood.

We all have our keeping cool in the summer memories.

Growing up, a friend down the street had a Slip ’n Slide and a yard with a nice grassy hill.

Not just a short hill with a gradual slope. This one was tall and steep.

You know what it’s like to be in the first car at the top of that big hill on the Scream Machine at Six Flags?

Let’s just say that Slip ’n Slides weren’t designed to be used as launching pads.

I think we broke the sound barrier a few times, flying down that hill and somehow stopping before he bounced ourselves into the road.

Guys probably have all sorts of memories of things we designed or did to keep cool in the summer, like this dad, who wrote about a contraption he put together.

It seems like the trampoline would be too slippery to jump with water all over it, but I guess that’s the protective dad inside of me talking, not the cool guy who did this kind of stuff when he was a kid.

There are plenty of other – drier and safer — ways to keep your kids cool this summer. This is an excellent list of all sorts of summertime activities, although some of these require going outside, which must be limited during our hot days.

Other than going to the pool, how are you keeping your kids cool – and busy — this unbearable summer?

Do you have any stories of how you or your siblings kept cool when you were younger?

By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

15 comments Add your comment


July 12th, 2011
1:18 pm

Little Johnny stays indoors mostly…. As parents, we’re mostly way too afraid of something happening to him outside, especially if he were to be out my vision for more than one second. Little Johnny likes video games. We use video games as a baby sitter; I can’t stand to be bothered. I’m so busy as a parent…. I don’t have time to cook a proper meal so we eat mostly junk all the time. Little Johnny will play video games all summer long on the couch, eating junk food, getting bigger and bigger every day….

He stays cool though!


July 12th, 2011
2:05 pm

My kids are grown now and both work inside at their jobs. I am off most of this summer, as many schools/districts do not hire consultants in the summer and funds have also been cut back for those who do hire. I am doing home projects and meeting friends for lunch and dinner.

We had a backyard pool, as a girl. The kind that you set up. Kids sometimes showed up ( uninvited) wearing their swimsuits. Of course, my mother was furious. If someone is having a picnic, would you show up with a plate and utensils :) She did not know how to swim and we were out there on our own most days. No supervision at all. Then, we moved to the farm and went to the creek. Again, no supervision.

Since we moved to GA, we have typically lived with access to a nearby pool for our kids. Over 15 years ago, we lived closer to the Gwinnett Place Marriott and they offered a family pkg. for $450 per year unlimited pool and a one night stay. That was great, as the pool is indoor and out too. Back then, it was a lot of money for us but we visited often and all year. One year, my son had some school friends over to join us. They were probably 8. They were trying to impress each other with jumps and flips. One kid misjudged the edge of the pool and cracked his two front teeth right off…permanent teeth. OUCH.

Now, we have a pool in our neighborhood. If you go before 11, it is quiet as a mouse. I have enjoyed the pool quite a bit this summer. Families start showing up then and it is usually busy until dark. We just noticed that in addition to the key-coded entrance. They have installed a surveillance camera. Must be due to some of the trouble we had and parents denying it was their kids…even though their pool key was coded into the system.

When mine were younger, I worked sports camps many summer weeks as I was not teaching school in the summer. We all went together and then came home and crashed around 3:00. The money I earned, went to the other weeks, where we took trips and mini vacations. Summers are hot here but typically have flown by, for our family.

Wonder if it is worse to be here in the summer, where it is 90 plus for several months, or somewhere where it is below zero for several months? I have never lived anywhere where it is that cold for a long stretch…anyone else? What do those folks do in the winter? We have visited the Mall of America Minneapolis, in the summer. It is DEAD and quite busy in the winter months. The weather is WONDERFUL in that area during the summer…winter…not so much!


July 12th, 2011
2:22 pm

Going completely crazy this summer. Between the heat and the thunderstorms it seems like we are inside WAY to much.

I make the kids go outside in the mornings and in the evenings. They play on the trampoline, swings etc…
They have some toys that hook up the hose (one is a really cool rocket thing that shoots off with the pressure of the water. Well worth the 15 dollars if you see one.)We have a slip n slide but they don’t get into it much and it tends to destroy the lawn.

We broke down and spent 500.00 to join a pool. Best thing we ever did. We have met a lot of nice people and it’s only 2 miles from the house,so we can go for a few hours and come back. Not the hassle of going to a friend’s pool or White Water etc. which takes all day.

I’m not one to keep my kids in when it’s hot but…this summer is REALLY hot. Can’t bring myself to lock them outside in the middle of the day.


July 12th, 2011
3:21 pm

My two are spending their days with Poppy finding different creeks and lakes to go to..They go to the dollar movie every Tues. and Wed. They have been to Chuckie Cheese twice this summer..Plus they are drinking lots and lots of water..


July 12th, 2011
6:11 pm

when i was a young girl, my father brought home a long section of a conveyor belt from work. we put it in the backyard on a hill that ended at the garage wall. after greasing it real good with dishwashing liquid and water, my brother and i slid quick as lightening, stopping abruptly when we hit the side of the garage! we were bruised and battered but had the BEST TIME! it made us tougher. the problem with kids these days is parents who try too hard to bubble wrap the world… let ‘em have some dang fun! we got hurt occasionally, but we got right back up and kept playing…no worse for the wear!


July 12th, 2011
8:02 pm

Wow…that reminded me of when we would crawl into a barrel and get rolled down the hill.
I had forgotten!


July 12th, 2011
8:07 pm

wow mjg we did that too lol…what fun!! the kids here live at the lake. go to work…hit the lake immediately after. if its not a work day…its a lake day. jet skis…john boats…just floating..whatever…its COLD water. mmmmmm…i might have to start taking my bathing suit to work and hit that lake on the way home…i pass by it everyday….nothing like an ice cold mountain lake to cool you down!


July 12th, 2011
8:09 pm

when i was a kid we belonged to a club and after breakfast and chores we hit the pool and didnt come home till supper time.


July 12th, 2011
11:38 pm

We saved for several years and built a pool at our house last year. I’m not gonna lie….being able to walk out to the backyard to take a dip is delightful. And it’s enabled us to build some friendships by having a reason to invite people over to play.

mystery poster

July 13th, 2011
7:43 am

Maybe they can play wii sprinkler.

Mrs. G

July 13th, 2011
7:52 am

Last week my husband came home with an inflatable pool. It’s large enough for four people to sit in and cool off comfortably! :)

Growing up, I spent most of my summers in Seattle. It only got unbearably hot for a couple of weeks each summer. My family had a membership at a rec club, so I spent a lot of time at the pool with friends. We also had a Slip ‘n Slide and I’m surprised that I never broke my neck while using it.

MJG – After having lived in GA for nine years and having been in upstate NY for going on three, I’m going to have to say that the 90+ weather for months is worse! My hair likes it better here. :) And I find that I appreciate summer so much more now and definitely don’t take it for granted, since it’s freezing and there is snow everywhere from late (or sometimes early) November to sometime in March (and sometimes April).

mystery poster

July 13th, 2011
8:03 am

I lived in the northeast most of my life, where the average snowfall is 140 inches a year and it’s dark by 4:30. You either learn some winter sports, or go crazy. We did a lot of cross-country skiing (much less expensive than downhill and you can go anywhere). I think we were in the minority, most people hibernate.

This weekend, I read a report about obesity. The southern states were on top and Colorado on bottom. The article named the climate as a reason: it said that in the south, people hibernate in the winter when it gets to be 40, but “everyone” in Colorado goes skiing or skating. That’s just not true. In fact, I think more people hibernate longer in the colder climates. Not everyone who lives in a cold climate skis.

mystery poster

July 13th, 2011
8:12 am

@Mrs. G
Ahhh, upstate New York in the summer, my heart pines for it. But then, there’s that other season…..

T n T's Mom

July 13th, 2011
10:00 am

Slip n slides are great! My boys take several large (10×20ft) tarps and make one each summer. We have a very large yard with a gentle slope. Loads of fun. Last summer they had about 10 neighbohood kids playing rangning in age from 3 to 17. I think it is great that they can all play something together.

Yes they can get hurt, but only bumps and bruises. Some of the funniest momemts were when they run into each other. Let them be kids.

Longtime Educator

July 13th, 2011
10:10 pm

I have summer memories of giant tractor tire inner-tubes…floating down the creek, in the pond, and even at the beach. Nothing funnier than seeing a person curled up inside the tube and hanging on for dear life as somebody else rolls them down the beach! Yes, we had simpler pleasures “in the old days!”