Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Keeping the Young Ones Busy - Water Activities

Activities for toddlers and preschoolers - Part 1

There is something about water that just equals fun in my house. My plan is to have at least one water activity a week that my youngest can do with minimal supervision either on his own or with one of his siblings. Some of these activities we have already tried successfully, and others are on my current idea list.
I'll come back and update with more pictures as I have time.

Outside play:

1. Put the fire out - Draw a ladder on the sidewalk with a large chalk fire drawing at the top. Fill a small bucket and add a couple of sponges. The child runs or hops with the wet sponge to the fire, squeezes out the water, and returns to the bucket for more. I generally leave room for a second fire beyond the first one to make the game last longer.

2. Target practice - Draw a chalk target on the side of the house, a piece of plywood, etc. Using water guns, soak the target down and wash it away. You could also throw wet sponges at it instead of using water guns, but it would be a little bit messier.

3. Water the flowers or garden - My youngest loves to help and do real work. We have a few plants left in our garden, a rose bush, and a couple of small apple trees that he could water with a toy watering can if we have several dry days in a row.

4. Car wash - Generally, everyone pitches in and helps when we wash vehicles, but the same concept could be applied to toys as well. We have a plastic tractor, a small plastic picnic table, and a wagon that could use a bath in the next few weeks while the weather is still moderately warm.

5. Paint with water - All you need is a bucket of water, a paint brush, and a door, window, or section of the house to "paint".

Indoor play:

1. Float or sink
     Option 1: Fill a sink or tub halfway with water and hand the child a basket of objects to test which ones float and which ones sink. Ideas for objects - plastic toys, sponges, bouncy ball, plastic Easter egg, penny, straw, cheerio, pen, spoon, etc.
     Option 2: Fill the kitchen sink with water and add several floating boats or plastic stacking cups. Then have the child try to sink the toys. Henry used the sprayer at the sink at the other week. Younger children would probably be better with sponges to squeeze water on the toys or a small measuring cup with a handle or maybe even a turkey baster.

2. Bubble fun
     Option 1: Let the child take a bubble bath. I usually sat just outside the bathroom working with another child for safety reasons.
     Option 2: Put the bubble bath in a sink of water. Hand the child a sponge and some toys to wash. "Clean" toys can be placed in an adjacent sink or a plastic tub to be quickly rinsed at the end of the activity. Repeat the activity the following month with different toys. Have a car wash day, an animal bath day, clean the play kitchen dishes day, etc.

3. Penny drop - Place a small container at the bottom of a sink of water or bucket. Hand the child a stack of pennies to drop in the water one at a time to see how many he can get in the container. Then he can retrieve the pennies and try again.

4. Sunken Treasure - Fill a sink or rectangular pan with a few inches of water. Drop several small objects in the water like marbles or some plastic beads will sink as well. Let the child retrieve the treasure with a pair of tweezers.

5. Plain old water and toys - This one has lots of variations: cups (maybe a funnel, some eye droppers, or a turkey baster) for pouring, ocean animals, small boats, rubber ducks, toy frogs, etc.

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