Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer and pool season.
Whether you live in Stafford County, Spotsylvania County, Prince William County, Albemarle County, or Augusta County, community pools are opening near to your new Atlantic Builders home. And many of Atlantic Builders large acreage communities have homesite that can accommodate a personal backyard pool.
You can have a ton of fun at the pool playing lots of games and enhancing your physical fitness. It’s a great way to meet up with friends, family, neighbors and pass a cool time creating summer memories.
As many of us look forward to enjoying the fun and relaxation of spending time by the pool, it's important to remember that safety should always come first.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to promote pool safety while still having fun in the sun. By following some basic guidelines, you can ensure that your pool time is as safe as it is enjoyable.
Time to take the plunge (see what we did there?) and explore a few of our favorite pool games and remind everyone on tips to make sure everyone stays safe!
This is probably the first game everyone thinks of when they think “pool games.” Named after the 13th-century Italian explorer for some reason (there’s no definitive explanation out there), this is a water-based version of the game Blind Man’s Bluff: a game that’s been played for thousands of years in some form! To play Marco Polo, one person is the seeker and closes their eyes. Everyone else scatters in the pool. When the seeker says, “Marco,” everyone else replies, “Polo!” And the seeker tries to find the rest of the players going by sound alone. It’s challenging, tactical, and fast paced, and is a great way for a large group to play together in the pool!
Sharks and Minnows
This fun game is also for a large group of swimmers. One person starts as the shark and swims to the center of the pool. The shark can only move in a pre-defined space to make the game more challenging. The minnows then all line up on one side of the pool and, when the shark says, “Go!” swim to the other side. Anyone the shark tags instantly becomes a shark and joins the hunt for minnows. Last minnow standing wins and then becomes the first shark in the next round.
This is more of a group activity than a game, but it is quite exciting. Get a group of people in a small pool or the shallow end of a pool. Arrange yourselves in a circle and start walking clockwise. Continue faster and faster and faster. As the water churns, some swimmers might feel the current pushing them along or lifting them up off their feet. But the real excitement comes when someone yells, “Switch,” and everyone stops and tries to walk counter-clockwise against the current!
In order to make sure your family’s trip to the pool is only fun, we’ve put together our top 5 pool safety tips.
1. Know How to Swim
This sounds silly almost, but knowing how to swim properly is our number one safety tip. Learning how to swim doesn’t just teach you how to move around in the water, but also how to anticipate accidents waiting to happen and adapt to surprises. Many swim classes also teach students basic CPR or other safety training. And best of all, there are swim centers all over Virginia. If you lived in one of our gorgeous new homes in Fallen Oaks, for example, you’d be about 11 minutes away from SwimKids, where your children could learn how to be safe for pool season.
2. Wear Proper Sunscreen/Stay in the Shade
Going to the pool is always about fun in the sun, which lets your body make its own Vitamin D. That’s great. But the sun’s rays also contain potentially damaging UV light which we must protect against. Sunblock and frequent breaks in the shade are, therefore, a must! For sunscreen, use anything SPF 30 and up for the best protection, but remember to reapply it every two hours. And stick with the cream vs. the spray (according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, the FDA is still evaluating the safety and effectiveness of sprays). Most pools offer shaded areas or allow you to bring you own. Make sure to take advantage of all the shade you can—including wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes!
3. Have a Water Watcher
Lifeguards are great, but the more eyes you can have on your kids in the pool, the better. To that end, one adult in your party should always be a designated water watcher. Now, you can always switch off who is “on duty,” but at least one adult should always have “watching the water” as their priority (so no distractions like reading or playing on a phone). The water watcher will keep an eye on the kids to make sure everyone is obeying the rules, staying safe, and having fun. The water watcher is a great outside eye to help oversee the games mentioned above too!
4. Use the Buddy System
The buddy system makes sure that any child in the water is never without someone they know and trust alongside them. It’s the old “two heads are better than one” adage put into practice. Buddies look out for each other, stay close to each other, and make sure they both are being safe and having fun. If you’re out at the Washington Park Pool in Charlottesville (a short 6-minute drive from our new homes in Southwood), the buddy system would let two kids enjoy the zero-depth play area, water slides, and mushroom waterfall together!
5. Protect Your Gear
One often forgotten part of pool safety is protecting the stuff you came with: your gear. Sure, many pools have lockers you can use, and that’s great. But if you are bringing your phone near the pool, it needs to be protected too—from the water! Many new phones are waterproof to a point, and that’s fantastic. But you might want to invest in a waterproof case for when you’re texting poolside. Check the case’s IP rating to know how waterproof it truly is. Here’s a great guide to explain the rating system and what to look for: IPX Rating Chart.
Swimming and summer go hand in hand. It’s a fantastic way to exercise and stay cool. Swimming laps is fine, but pool games make swimming a more social activity. But we can’t sacrifice safety just to have fun. Pool safety is paramount to everyone’s health, well-being, and fun. Make sure it’s a top priority as you head to the pools near your Atlantic Builders Home.