Here's a post in answer to one of Mama Kat's writing prompts:
Maine is a land of many bodies of water. We have lots of rivers and lakes and a beautiful coastline to cool off in, but unless you are blessed (and filthy rich), it's unlikely any of these places are your backyard, just waiting for you to jump in. This is why you invest (and I use this word lightly) in a kiddie pool.
It doens't even actually have to be a pool pool. Just look at what we use:
All kidding aside, when it's crazy hot out, but you can't must the strength or energy or organization to get yourself, kid(s) in tow, to the beach, the kiddie pool is a cure all. The kids can splash around, you can dip your feet in, and since you probably aren't dragging out the pool at other times of the year (kind of cold in December, you know?), or maybe not even much during the summer, the novelty alone will keep your little one occupied. Throw in some beach or water toys, a freely running hose, and some popsicles and you've got yourself a little water park that beats Water Country (I doubt anyone outside of New England has any idea as to what Water Country is, but you get the idea--at least it wasn't an Aquaboggan reference).
I'd also say a cheapo sprinkler (we got ours for $3 at one of those discount bargain-y store bankruptcy places) and a tarp for a good, old fashioned slip 'n' slide does wonders, too. Who needs a fancy $30 piece of plastic when you can just a tarp that does the same thing for half the price?
Having these few, inexpensive items (kiddie pool, sprinkler, and a plastic tarp) really do make my life easier in the summer. Instead of having to track down towels, a beach blanket, snacks, toys, sunscreen, blah, blah, blah, all I have to do is pull out the turtle, fill it with water, and sit back. What a life.