Feeling maxed out on screen time and sanity this summer?! I understand and feel the same way. There is only so much Peppa Pig I can watch without feeling like all of our brains are turning to mush.
I find that sometimes when I suggest going outside, I’m met with less than enthusiastic responses. But when I mention water play, my daughter is all in! Here are five of my favorite water activities to help keep cool while you enjoy the day.
1. Car Wash
This one can be as easy or as complicated as you want.
Easy version: Fill up two buckets with water + get a super soapy sponge and clean all the cars or plastic toys you can find.
Extra version: Rig up a carwash by poking holes in a milk carton or similar container and attaching the hose to fill your container. Prop it up on either side so there is room under the container to wash as the water drips out.
Time extender version: Go on a scavenger hunt to find all the toys first! Find BLUE toys, now find SHINY toys, now find toys with WHEELS, etc. THEN go outside and find some mud to make them really dirty first, which makes the car wash much more satisfying!
What are we learning? How to identify objects, taking care of our things, and independence.
2. Water Paint
Paint is messy, gets everywhere and can be a pain to clean up, BUT using water as paint is the best, mess-free alternative.
Get a variety of sizes of paintbrushes and fill a bucket up with water and go to town painting everything — house, sidewalk, car, you name it.
Time extender version: Have a competition and see who can paint an object the fastest — fish, horse, flowers! Practice painting shapes. Practice painting letters. Practice painting fast and sloooooow. Paint a self-portrait. Experiment with different sized paint brushes. Talk about how fast the water absorbs — does the picture stay longer in a shady spot vs a sunny spot?
What are we learning? So many thing! Science and evaporation. Tempo when you paint fast or slow. Shapes. Letters.
3. Summer Soup
You’ll need some type of bucket or bowl for this one!
First, talk about what ingredients you want to add to your summer soup! Some green grass? A few dandelions? Any flowers growing? A few sticks? A cool rock? Get creative and think about what you could find in your yard, neighborhood, etc.
Make an ingredient list together and then go on a scavenger hunt to find everything you need.
Add a bucket of water and some big scoops or spoons and let them make a big batch of summer soup!
What are we learning? Planning. Measuring. Exploring with different textures and colors.
4. Color Scientist
You’ll need liquid watercolors and a variety of cups/bowls. Use droppers for extra fun.
Pour some water into several cups and add a few drops of liquid watercolor to the water and give it a stir.
Play around with mixing the colors together to see what combinations you end up with!
What are we learning? All about colors! You can ask fun questions too — what other things are green? Can you point to some? How do you spell ‘yellow’? Adjust based on age!
5. Ice Cube Creation
You’ll need an ice cube mold for this one
This is a two part activity. First you are going to find items and make themed ice cubes. What can you find to add into the ice cubes? Collect some items — a few of my faves: flowers, chopped up fruit, small toys, pompoms, wooden beads, bits of pine cones — anything works!
Add those items to the ice cube mold and the pour in some water. For added fun you can add liquid water color to these as well (don’t worry you won’t be eating them!)
Once you’ve filled your molds, stick it in the freezer until frozen.
Then you have a whole additional activity to melt the ice cubes and set your items free again! Extra fun to use warm water and water droppers.
What are we learning? More science! Water freezing + melting. You can talk about colors and texture. If items sink or float. You can group items in a variety of ways. Mix + stir.
Depending on the ages of your kids, let them be as independent as possible with some of the activities. It’s normally my instinct to jump in and pour or gather for my daughter, but she has so much more fun trying to figure it out for herself.
Does she normally get messy? Yes. Does it take longer? Also yes, but that’s part of the fun. AND don’t miss out on the chance to engage! Ask questions, help them make observations — I promise you won’t regret it!
Remember, you and they are fearfully and wonderfully made. There is no better person to be their mom, dad, friend, aunt, uncle, neighbor, grandparent — whatever your title may be.
Try to find joy in the hard and long days this summer and tag us on social with all the fun you are having @familychristianonline!