The Kiddie Pool Hack That Keeps Your Cookout Spread Cool For Hours

People enjoying backyard cookout
People enjoying backyard cookout - Solstock/Getty Images

Next to portable bubbles and sidewalk chalk, kiddie pools are a warm weather necessity for most families. If you've spent a large portion of your summer days only pulling out the family kiddie pool for afternoon play dates, it's time you see this summer staple in a whole new light. Who says adults can't experience the enjoyment and convenience of kiddie pools? Luckily, if you have a few cookouts on this season's calendar, this popular outdoor source of child entertainment can easily be transformed into an adult-friendly cooler.

While there seems to be a never ending stream of fresh ideas for outdoor parties available at your fingertips, using a kiddie pool as an outdoor cooler may be the easiest to pull off. To make this simple cooler, position your kiddie pool in a shady spot outside and fill with ice. Whether you want an outdoor storage solution for condiments and side dishes or a designated place for beverages, kiddie pools are large enough to hold more than a few cookout essentials. Even though this newfound cooler may seem foolproof, not all kiddie pools are created equal. Depending on the material of your kiddie pool and what you intend to keep cool, this hack may be more or less effective.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

Important Factors To Consider When Using A Kiddie Pool As An Outdoor Cooler

Empty plastic kiddie pool
Empty plastic kiddie pool - Rianna M. Hill/Shutterstock

Filling kiddie pools with ice isn't rocket science, yet there may be some models that work better as makeshift coolers than others. There are benefits and drawbacks to both hard plastic pools and their inflatable counterparts. Hard plastic pools are sturdier and may be able to hold more refreshments without bending along the exterior. Conversely, inflatable pools require an air pump. Most inflatable models are made with thinner polyvinyl material which can easily be punctured.

Whichever kind of pool you use, choose an outdoor spot with a decent amount of shade. Once your pool has been filled with ice and stacked with your barbecue friendly side dishes and drinks, do not attempt to move it. This can cause tears or cracks in the pool's surface.

While both hard plastic and inflatable pools can be filled with ice and made into convenient outdoor coolers, the weight of your fruit salad and platter of deviled eggs along with the sharp edges of cans and bottle caps may compromise the resulting structure of your beloved kiddie pool. If you don't want to potentially rip or crack your kids' favorite model, portable pools are cheap enough to buy an extra one for all your warm weather cookouts.

Be Mindful Of What You Keep Chilled In Your Kiddie Pool Cooler

Canned drinks over ice
Canned drinks over ice - Clare JoAnna Lewis/Shutterstock

The best part about purchasing a separate kiddie pool to cool your favorite food and drinks is that you can buy models specifically made for this function. Standard kiddie pools range from 1 to 2 feet deep, which may not be ideal for food platters, especially when the ice begins to melt. This can make a mess of your food. Also, who wants to reach for burger fixings so low to the ground? Cooler-specific models are made with a shallow base and can be purchased through online retailers like Amazon. Some available options are even small enough to place conveniently on picnic tables.

However, if you want to keep things simple and use the plastic kiddie pool you've had for years, use this makeshift cooler for drinks only. With closed bottles and cans, you don't have to worry about your party pleasing pimento cheese being knocked off balance or melted ice seeping into your other favorite recipes. Better yet, if you have more than one plastic pool, you can even make a multi-level drink tower. Use a few plastic storage bins to stack your pools on top of one another and separate your beverages accordingly. Fortunately, there's more than one way to transform your kiddie pool into an effective outdoor cooler. As long as you continue to add ice, your party friendly drinks are guaranteed to stay cold for hours on end.

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