Summers can get incredibly hot -- up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) or higher where I live -- so getting wet is a great way to cool down. But maybe you don't have a pool in your area, can't afford the cost of membership or just want your kids to be able to enjoy themselves in the water in your own backyard. Building an in-ground pool is costly to say the least. From obtaining permits to excavating, there's a lot of work before you even get to the pool part. Then afterward, there's the cleaning and maintenance, year-round. But you'd probably enjoy it just as much as your kids.
You could also consider an above-ground pool, which can be really inexpensive depending on the size and type. If it's just for your kids to get wet, a small, inflatable pool might be enough, but you can also get a larger, hard-sided or metal-framed pool. Larger pools need more accessories like pumps, filters and ladders -- with a kiddie pool you just fill it from the backyard hose and go. There are also inflatable structures with slides, fountains and small splash areas or wading pools. The downside: These have a very limited life span. Or you can dispense with the pool altogether. One trend you may have seen at malls or parks is the splash pad -- basically a glorified sprinkler with water jets that squirt up out of concrete. An even less expensive option includes punching holes in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipe and using your hose to make your own sprinkler or splash area.