We’re deep into the end of summer and if you’re anything like me, you’ve got some little ones feeling sticky, hot and a little bored. Here are 5 surefire ways to break out of that midsummer play rut and enjoy some fresh ways to play with water:
- Delve into density
How to - Gather a bunch of water friendly objects from around the house and head to your favorite place for water play. If you’ve got a water table, kiddie pool, sink or bathtub, you’ve got the perfect site to explore floating and sinking. Before the items hit the water, encourage your kiddo to predict which things will fall to the bottom and which ones will float.
The benefits – Promote critical thinking, explore science concepts, nurture intellectual curiosity
- Rescue the Figurines
How to – Before bed, scoop up some of the Lego guys and gals that narrowly escaped the vacuum and toss them into an empty ice cube tray. Fill with water and freeze overnight. By morning, they’ll be ready to be saved from their icy fates. Encourage your child to explore which method frees the Lego characters faster. If they need ideas, options can include melting the cubes in the sun, plunging into different water temperatures and covering with salt.
The benefits – Encourage creativity, boost problem solving, spark exploration
- Bubble bath car wash
How to – Whether those toys are dirty or not, it’s time for a luxe hand wash. Fill up the water table (or big plastic bucket) with water and your favorite kid friendly bubble bath. Set up a washing station and equip your wee one with the tools for the job – another bucket of clean water, sponges, small paint brushes and a towel or two for drying. Don’t forget to clean your Beetle Bath Car too!
The benefits – Foster imagination, strengthen communication, enhance reasoning skills
- Colored ice cube play
How to – Create a collection of vibrantly colored ice cubes in different sizes and shapes for unstructured ice play. To make a variety of cubes, consider checking out the dollar or grocery store for inexpensive trays. Silicone baking molds can also double as fun ice makers. Fill each compartment in your ice cube tray with a drop of food coloring and water. Freeze. Empty colored cubes into a plastic freezer bag and repeat the process until you have filled one or two gallon bags. When you have enough, empty your new frozen toys into a large plastic bin outside and enjoy!
The benefits – Color and shape identification, learn about color mixing, observe scientific principles
- Paint with water
How to – Encourage little ones to “paint” the driveway, sidewalk or deck with water. Grab several large paintbrushes (choose bristles over foam for better results) and a bucket of water. Show your kiddo how to dip the brush into the water and make marks on their chosen surface. Practice writing letters or simply free draw.
The benefits – Alphabet recognition, spark artistic thinking, advance physical development
Endless supplies of watermelon and popsicles may ensure that your kiddos stay sticky for the rest of the season (and would we want it any other way?), but we can certainly cure the “hot and bored” with these new ideas for water play. Have fun getting wet and growing those brains!