Not everyone has access to a pool but children can still have lots of fun with water play. However, even without a pool, adults must be willing to spend the time to make absolutely certain that the safety of children playing in or near water is at the forefront of each activity.
WET AND FUN ACTIVITIES
Provide each child a small bucket or can with water in it and an old paintbrush. Children can enjoy “painting” —whether it be the house, some steps, the garage, or the sidewalk, it will be fun using their own bucket and brush.
Instead of playing in a pool, attach the garden hose to a sprinkler. Turn on the water and watch as the children run through the spray of water.
Fill small balloons with water. These can be uses to play a game of catch with
WATER PLAY ACCESSORIES
Simple household items can make water play a lot of fun. Any of these items are fun for the children to play with:
empty plastic bottles
empty squeeze bottles
Wet the sand in the sandbox or in a box. The differences between the wet and dry sand can be very entertaining. Let children dig rivers, streams, and lakes in the sand, and fill them with water.
PING PONG BOATS
Use clean, empty margarine tubs for boats. Float the boats in a wading pool or dishpan. Have each child take turns trying to toss ping-pong balls into the boats
You will need:
clean styrofoam meat tray
Let the children decorate a styrofoam meat tray in their own way. Stick the pipe cleaner through the center of the tray. Secure it by bending the end on the underside of the styrofoam tray. Cut a diamond shape out of the construction paper and fold it in half to make a sail. Place the pipe cleaner in the fold of the sail and staple to hold it in place. Take the sailboat for a voyage in a wading pool or dishpan.
SINK OR FLOAT
Have each child gather a number of items from around the house or supply them with a cork, paper cups, plastic containers, marbles, sponges, or other items. Take them outside to a wading pool, dishpan, or bucket of water to see which items sink or float.
Try some experiments with the children. Can you make something that sinks or can float? Place a sinking object on a floating object. For example, place a marble on a sponge. What object holds the most things and still floats?
Blowing bubbles is a fun outdoor activity for all ages. Children around 2 -1/2 years old and older can learn to blow bubbles if you show them how.
An easy bubble solution can be made from:
1/2 cup hand dishwashing liquid
5 cups water
A tiny bit of cooking oil added to the soap and water mixture will make the bubbles tough enough to float in the air without breaking easily.
You can buy bubble wands and pipes at a store or try any of these:
- plastic berry basket bottoms (dip in bubble solution and wave in the air)
- thread spools (dip one end in bubble solution and blow through opposite end)
- plastic drinking straw (dip one end in bubble solution and blow through opposite end)