Just Add Water to Find Your Cool

The best activities on hot, humid days are those that help you keep cool — and help you keep your cool. Growing up in the South, I quickly discovered that the most enjoyable ways to spend long summer days involved either water or air conditioning.

Jumping into a pool for early-morning swim lessons or swim team practice guaranteed a refreshing start to the day. During peak sun time, I was supposed to head indoors, or at least into shade. I’d get lost in a good book, reassemble a familiar puzzle, cajole my sister into playing a game or pull out basic art supplies. Then it might be back to the pool or time to run through the sprinkler spray while giving the lawn a much-needed drink.

Raising an active, inquisitive child, I discovered he and I both kept our “cool” best when engaged in an activity we enjoyed. Adding water didn’t hurt.

As a toddler, my son would splash-land in a plastic pool from a play slide lodged over the edge. Later, the Little Tikes slide and kiddie pool were replaced with water park visits, at least one trip each summer to Wet ‘n Wild Emerald Pointe and Silver Lake in Raleigh (when it was still open). We picnicked and swam at Jordan Lake with friends and spent a number of hours at the neighborhood pool.

In this issue we share places to get wet and ways to stay cool this summer in and around the Triangle. Check out our suggestions for low-cost public pools with special fun features, area spray grounds, lakes and water parks (page 39). Unleash your kids’ creativity while staying cool in arts and craft classes (page 45) and other indoor activities and outdoor programs during the cooler hours. And don’t forget to check out the local library — or order a few e-books — to dig up some good reads for any interest and age. We share tips to keep older kids engaged in reading despite the pull of social and extracurricular activities (page 22).

If you’re thinking about growing your family soon, read our article on page 27 about things to consider before having another child. If one is the right number for you — whether by choice or circumstance — don’t worry. Parents of “onlies” can rest assured that their child isn’t destined to be stingy, selfish or lonely (see page 31).

Even though schedules still may be busy, summer helps us slow down a little and spend quality time with family and  friends. As always, you can count on Carolina Parent and CarolinaParent.com for ideas and resources of places to go, things to do and ways to make the most of family and life in the Triangle. Also sign up for our e-newsletters. It’s easy to do right from our homepage online. (If you sign up before July 12, you’ll be eligible for a summer prize pack giveaway!)

Here’s to finding — and keeping — your cool this summer. Just add water — or air conditioning, preferably that someone else is paying for!

Crickett Gibbons