What I learned in preschool: do not underestimate the splash radius of a 3yo

For the months of July and August, the preschool sets up a small collapsable pool every year in the corner of the front yard, under the awning, for the kids to play in. Instead of our daily treks to the park each morning, each of the four classes takes turns having an hour in the swimming pool instead. It’s a nice break to get outside and feel the sun, but oh my goodness, helping a room full of 3 year olds get changed into their swim suits is like herding kittens with short attention spans.

Challenging to say the least. But also highly entertaining.

They all understand the concept of having to take clothes off first in order to get their swimsuits on, but some are still working out the small detail that clothes have a front and back side to them. Also most of the kids wear a zip up rash guard as their bathing suit top and the zippers are a major struggle for some. Some have questionable fine motor skills.

But lets be real, I have one student who has enough trouble just getting their rash gaurd on the correct way, so to expect them to zip a zipper is just asking way too much… This is the same kid who 70% of the time will put their backpack on backwards and sometimes I just can’t help but laugh (usually after helping them rearrange everything, of course.)

When filled to capacity, the school pool will maybe reach three feet deep, but it’s usually never filled more than 10 – 14 inches deep. Each morning I help the little sea monsters into the pool, making sure they get their leg up and over the side rail, grab the side, and step onto the chair we use as a makeshift ladder. One or two of them always push my hand away and tell me, “I can by myself!” Some actually can get in and out by themselves, and then some tell me that and then proceed to get stuck on the edge of the pool, mid-leg swing, and then look up at me with an accusatory expression that says, “why are you just standing there watching me woman, I was lying, can’t you see I need your help!?” So of course, I give them a nudge (usually in the right direction.)

Once they’re all happily splashing away in the knee deep water you’d think all I have to do is stand back and play lifeguard. Nope, I have to be actively involved with the kiddos and play with them. I try to get a hold of the hose and get some retribution squirts in before they really start yelling at me to stop. But it’s a slippery slope, because I’m splashing them, they sometimes think it’s okay to splash back, which to be fair, if I were in the pool with them would be 100% okay. But I’m not. I’m fully clothed and still have to work for another few hours in the same clothes.

And one of my least favorite things is getting wet in clothes that I still have to wear for the rest of the day.

Which brings me back to our lesson learned. When I don’t have the hose, I’m usually standing right next to the pool holding a big yellow bucket (their equivalent of the Home Depot bucket) and usually the kiddos are perfectly happy to just stand there and pour water into it. Sure, I get a few splashes on me, but mostly just arms and feet. Being in flip flops I don’t mind getting the feets wet.

But the other day, someone learned that by twirling around while holding a cup filled with water, the water will be launched from the cup in a beautiful arc outward in front of them. Yay physics.

So I had my head down, focusing on the bucket in my grasp, trying to maneuver it so that each kid gets space to pour some water into it when it hits me.

Literally. Water everywhere.

I managed to not to throw the bucket at the guilty student before I turned and walked very quickly to the patio to find my towel to mop up my face and body.

Deep breath. One, two, three.

Then I walked back to the pool and stood in the sun in hopes of drying off some before I had to go back inside. I didn’t yell because what good would that have done? The kiddos were having a ball splashing around and the splasher looked scared once they realized what they did (I was mad and drippy).

I’m just thankful I wasn’t wearing glasses that day, wet glasses are useless. (Don’t ask me how many times I’ve worn them walking home in an unexpected rain storm…)

So now the kids know that they can increase their splash radius and now I know that I need to stand further back and be more vigilant. Thankfully, there’s only a few more days left of “pool season” so I won’t have to worry about an unplanned school shower anymore!

8 thoughts on “What I learned in preschool: do not underestimate the splash radius of a 3yo

  1. Dad

    Just the title made me laugh out loud! I can only imagine the shock on your face after getting hit the the water. Remember to tell me what a splash guard is when we talk.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alliezimmitti

    Hi Allie, I Gmailed your Dad today, all I know is that he’s very pleased that you & Benjamin will be with him at Christmas time! Are you returning to Japan or is this your ending? I have a broken left foot, but your Dad told me of your Mom’s broken foot. Please keep well& Blogging, I do enjoy reading them!

    Warmly, AM

    Liked by 1 person

    1. allisonjamie

      Hi AM! So good to hear from you! Yes, we are going home for Christmas and I am really looking forward forward to it. Oh no, I hope your foot heals soon, that’s no fun with a broken bone. I will keep writing just so I know I can keep hearing from you, take care 😊



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