Make a Thrifty, DIY, Kid-Friendly Pool at the Beach

This is a tip I first read about on the Mama to 4 Blessings blog a few months ago.  I thought it was fabulous as we have taken our two little ones on many, many beach trips since they were born, and it’s only been recently that L&L (now ages 4-1/2 and almost 3) have had any interest in getting into the ocean water.  They have mostly preferred to play in the sand, only venturing into the water if the waves were very calm or we could find a little tide pool in which for them to play.  I wish I had known about this simple idea before because we could have really used it so many times already!!  

So, what is it you ask???  

It’s a really simple way to make your own little pool at the beach.  All you need is a plastic shower curtain or liner and a bucket and shovel to make your own perfect kid-sized pool right on the beach.  In it’s simplest form, basically you dig a hole, lay out the liner, and fill it with water. 

We made a pool the first day at the beach by digging a hole, 


laying out the plastic shower curtain liner (~$6 for a PVC free liner), 

burying the edges in sand, and filling up the depression with ocean water carried over by buckets and various other temporarily repurposed sand toys.  


It worked fine…

…but of course, my DH who is ever-the-engineer came up with a better design for the second day.  It honestly was a lot better the second time, so I’ll share what he did:

#1. Dig an oval hole with a flat bottom roughly 2′ x 3′.  Make sure your shower curtain liner will fit in the hole with plenty of overlap on all sides.

#2. After your hole is dug, dig a trench about 4″ away from the edge of the hole all the way around, creating a crown.


#3. Center your plastic shower curtain over the hole, and begin to put a little water into the hole to help the curtain start taking the contour of the pool.  It helps if you use a little sand to lightly anchor a few points of the shower curtain while you get it positioned.

#4. Now that you have the shower curtain positioned and lining the bottom contour of the pool, the edges of the curtain should be wrapping over the crown and in the trench that you dug (if you cross stitch, this is kind of like anchoring your canvas between the two hoops).  With the edges of the plastic in the trench, fill it in with sand.  Walk around a bit to pack it down.


#5. Fill the pool with water and have fun!  



#7. When you leave for the day, take your liner with you.  Just pull it up carefully, wash it off, let it dry, fold it up, and use it again next time!  It fits in a very small space–purse, beach bag, suitcase!  If you’ll be using the liner often, I recommend getting the heavy-duty one as ours was a regular clear liner and I did put a small hole in it when I was pulling it up after the second day.  The heavy duty liner is a little thicker so hopefully would be a bit more sturdy.

We had a 20 month old (a cousin), a 35 month old, and a 4-1/2 year old who used the pool and they all loved it.  The toddler especially liked it a lot, and I do think it’s best suited for the baby, toddler, and young preschooler age group, although I have to admit, the adults were known to stick their feet in, or climb in to rinse off a time or two as well.  

On the 2nd day we made the pool, it was especially hot and sunny.  To help ensure the kids didn’t get sun burnt, we put our E-Z UP Canopy over the pool so the kids could play in the shade…and the adults could sit in the shade to watch them play.  


This definitely made our beach vacation with kids a little more fun for everyone! 🙂

Note: Never leave a child unsupervised in or around water.  

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