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The Transformative Power of WATER #EverydayPlayDeck

To celebrate the upcoming launch of the Everyday Play Deck, Lisa Zaretsky author of the #everydayplaydeck and founder of playAGAIN, will be sharing invitations to play with recycled, repurposed and natural materials. Like the invitations offered in the Everyday Play Deck, the ideas in these posts are meant to inspire you to shift your lens and explore the possibility of all that surrounds you. What can you do with what you already have? 

Is there anything better than the combination of kids and water?

We all know that water helps us beat the summer heat: submerge, splash, refresh, revive. But in this post, I want to share how water can be a tool for children: a source of artistry, discovery, and transformation.

The next time you go to wipe up water that escaped from the tub or splashed from the sink .... Stop. Let your children do it. Hand them a dry paper towel or a dry sponge and watch the magic happen. The water weaves, snake-like, through the fibers of the paper towel; it’s mesmerizing. A hard sponge transforms, right before your eyes, into a squishy, squeezy, wet mass.

These moments, that make the ordinary extraordinary, are the foundation of the Everyday Play Deck.

If it’s a warm summer day, extend this experience by moving outdoors. Reuse an empty plastic produce container and fill with water. Your child can dip a sponge and squeeze the water onto a dry sidewalk. Stomp in the puddle with bare feet, “fingerpaint,” or make designs. Then walk away and let the sunshine do its thing! Check back a short while later and take notice.

Your child can also dip the end of a paper towel in the puddle you’ve created and “paint” some rocks, a fence, the table, and some chairs. It’s amazing how children require so little to make their mark.

After, you’ve enjoyed that experience, here’s another:

Collect some simple (water safe) household items (a beaded necklace, a handful of buttons, metal lids from jars, corks, paper clips, hair ties, etc...) and fill the same container halfway with water so your child can drop the items in. She can dip her hands, grab big handfuls, and roll the materials between her fingers. Take a moment to notice what sinks and what floats. Create a game out of it and make predictions, discuss why a small thing may sink and a larger item may float, and brainstorm other things to add.

Try dropping the objects in the water from different heights and angles. Enjoy how everything glistens when wet and how the SPLASH may differ depending on where your child is positioned, in relation to the water, when she drops things in.

When you’re finished, tuck all that away and head to the kitchen to use water to transform just a few ingredients into something new and exciting: homemade play dough!

Play Dough Recipe


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • food coloring (optional)


  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly.
  3. When mixture solidifies, remove from heat and cool.                                   
  4. Get playing!
  5. Store in airtight container

I hope these ideas engage, delight, and awe your children. And, I ultimately hope they inspire you and your children to think of many more ways to play, the repurposed way.

PLEASE NOTE: all of these activities (and materials) require CLOSE ADULT SUPERVISION. Never leave a child unattended, especially around any amount of water, a hot stove, or small items.

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