9 Tips to Planning the Perfect Day at a Splash Park

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID Publisher May 16, 2022

Toting your kids around Pittsburgh during the summer months can be daunting, especially when you're planning on tacking water activities. Take it from us, a little advance planning goes a long way when heading to your local Spray Park or Splash Pad. Here are a few tips from your local Macaroni Mama's to help you make the most of your water play days this summer. After you have decided on the perfect Spray Park or Splash Pad for your next adventure, 

  1. Consider going earlier in the day, especially if you have babies or toddlers. Splash parks tend to be less crowded, and you're not going to be getting full sun if you head out from 10am-noon. 
  2. Get your kids dressed in their bathing suit under their clothes and put them in crocs or water shoes if they have them. Try and steer away from flip-flops or anything that gets slippery when wet. Chances are, the park you are headed to is going to have playground equipment that your kids will want to play on; and no one wants to attempt a slide in their bathing suit or slip when climbing. If your kid rocks sunglasses, grab those too!
  3. Apply sunscreen before you get in the car (and bring it with you). Once kids see the fun, it's way too hard to reel them in. Applying sunscreen before we get in the car allows them to run full throttle on excitement upon arrival without interruption.  
  4. Pack an extra set of clothes (including socks, underwear and shoes). In fact, we suggest prepping a water play bag to just leave in your car all summer, so you can deviate from your plans on any given day and end up at a splash pad with nothing to worry about. More often than not we end up at a spray park fully clothed (no suit underneath) so these extra clothes come in handy!
  5. Don't forget the towels! Bring an extra one for any cleanup you might need to do when your wet kid meets dirt. 
  6. Consider bringing a few toys for possible sand/mud/dirt play.
  7.  Bring extra water bottles and snacks to keep everyone hydrated and avoid hangry kiddos. Implement a mandatory water break on the hour when the whole fam can regroup and refuel ( I swear, water is the secret to a successful summer). This tip is especially helpful when you are going to be at a pool all day. We keep extra water bottles and snacks that won't melt in our water play bag, so they are safe all summer long. Our go-to's include - granola bars, peanut butter pretzels, Slim Jims, and apple sauce pouches. 
  8. Have fun and relax! If your kid wants to run in fully clothed, let them. Play in the mud in your Matilda Jane? Go ahead; nothing a little soap can't fix. These are memories in the making and no matter the amount of planning we do, there will always be something that deviates us off track. Sometimes we just need a reminder to go with the flow and let the kids be kids. 
  9.  Always say yes to the ice cream. They're going to ask. It's like the ultimate kid fantasy. Splashing in the summer sun all day long with an ice cream night cap. #YOLO

    We hope these tips help you enjoy your summer in the 'Burgh! If you happen to be out and about at one of the Pittsburgh spray parks or splash pads on our list and snap a photo for social media, be sure to tag us and use #pghmackid for a chance to be featured on our social media!