Splish! Splash! Children gravitate to water fun; and giggles increase with a friend to splash along. Let your child invite one or more friends to come and play outside with water. Keep towels on hand for children who want to dry their eyes, and be sure to encourage young ones in taking turns and sharing. Snap some photos so your child can talk about the time after their friend leaves then e-mail the pictures to the friend. The photos will help them remember the fun they shared and will help build bonds between them.
Fun and Safety
A pool is fun and helps with gross motor skills, but even basins of water or sprinklers can be a hit. Discuss water safety before letting children take a plunge. Children can drown in just an inch of water. Teach your child to relax around water but not to go in without an adult, even if they know how to swim. It’s a good habit to make a simple adult-supervisor necklace. Use a small plastic lid and write “Adult” on it with a permanent marker. Punch a hole and string the lid on a cord. Have an adult wear it to make sure there is someone designated to watch the children.
Water! Water Everywhere!
Simple water fun can be done anywhere outside. Paintbrushes and buckets of water make it fun to paint disappearing art on almost any surface outdoors. It’s also a great way to get children to help clean outdoor areas!
Freeze some colored water before friends arrive to add to the cool excitement.
Do a sponge toss.
Count how many children will be participating in the activity, noting the ages of each child. Cut a sponge apart for every child, creating enough pieces to match how many years old each child is. (For example, a three-year-old’s sponge would be cut into three pieces.) Number each sponge’s pieces starting with the number one, and toss the labeled sponge pieces into the water. Starting with number one, the children should grab each piece of their sponge. While the older children may be faster, the younger ones will have fewer to collect. Then use the wet sponges for a water-sponge toss. (Optional: Use different colored sponges for each child.)
Water and Faith
Set up a station with dolls for girls to bathe their babies. Boys can set up a wash station for their riding toys or action figures. Talk about baptism and Jesus while they clean their dolls or other toys. Let them try some feats with action figures and dolls such as walking on the water. Talk about Jesus and water (he boated, walked on water, and even calmed a storm).
Differences in Ability
You’ll probably notice a big difference in swimming ability among children. Since my late husband served in the Coast Guard, we taught our babies to swim starting at two weeks old. Other children might not start lessons until they are school age. Don’t start a swim competition unless children have equal swimming ability.
Water and Math
All of them can enjoy splashing and playing in water. Put out empty cups and containers for children to fill and to pour back and forth in containers. Use some measuring cups to give them simple math lessons as they play. They can even try to fill cups under a sprinkler and see how much longer that takes than scooping water from a bucket or the pool.
Take those frozen, colored cubes you made and add them to the body of water. Children may squeal as they touch the icy cubes. They will enjoy swirling them and watching them melt in the cold water. Discuss how water changes from liquid to solid when put in the freezer and how it turns back to liquid as it warms up. Use some of the ice cubes for cube races to see how fast they slide down an incline. Have an ice cube toss.
Since children are in the heat as they play, make sure they drink plenty of water. Set up a station where they can add in berries, lemon and orange wedges, or sprigs of mint to flavor the water. Talk about dehydration and signs of it (chapped lips, feeling hot, flushed, thirsty) and add a salty snack to help them retain fluids.
Check out the “Princess in Action” section of each day in
The One Year My Princess Devotions
for other water-fun ideas and more from Karen Whiting!
Karen Whiting is an author and speaker with thirteen published books and hundreds of articles and short pieces for over four dozen publishers including Focus on the Family Magazine and Christian Parenting Today. She was a contributing writer for Focus on Your Child 2008-2009. She writes a quarterly article for Enrichment Journal for pastors and leaders of the Assemblies of God, a quarterly column for Discipleship Ideas magazine, and a family page for a monthly denominational newspaper. Whiting has also been the community producer and host of the television series Puppets on Parade for Miami educational TV.
Whiting has a heart for families and encourages families to connect and live more fully for God. She is a mother of five and a grandmother.
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