Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Waterplay Wednesday: Just Add Water!

We're about to head out to one of our favorite sprinkler parks and playgrounds for my nature based playgroup. Sprinkler parks are one of my go-to outdoor summer activities and water play is something we do here year round whether we're outside, indoors or just in the tub. I can usually be found at the sprinkler park toting a utility bucket full of unusual items. This is undoubtedly a conversation starter! Some years I have a soggy child or two decked head to toe in waterproof clothing. Some years I have a dry child or two decked head to toe in waterproof clothing. Children generally love to get wet and play in water. Some do not love the "surprise" element of sprinklers and some love it one year and give it a wide berth the next! S has gone through phases of feelings about sprinklers and this year, he's back in with Y right alongside him!
Nonetheless, having something to hold in their little hands makes little ones all the more eager to get in and get wet. Having a nearby waterplay alternative like my "pop-up" water tables made from filling a plastic bin or bowl with water is a great way to be inclusive to those who are hesitant around sprinklers or unable to move about independently. Last summer S even cleverly figured out how to pawn off the job of filling our utility bucket with water for him on a willing and unsuspecting peer. I've written about waterplay take-alongs before, but here is an updated and revised list including a new section of art materials, natural items and some especially for the littlest ones!

Just add water, bring a towel and Happy Playing!

Water Play Take-Alongs

Household Items:
  • cups, containers, things you can fill and pour from
  • colanders/strainers
  • measuring cups & measuring spoons
  • large paint brushes & sponge brushes
  • scrub brushes and sponges
  • recycled plastic containers from produce (the ones with holes in the bottom can be especially fun!), pudding cups/applesauce cups/fruit cups
  • spray bottles
  • empty condiment bottles for filling/squirting
  • utility bucket (great for transporting stuff and filling/pouring)
  • plastic bin or large plastic bowl for a “pop-up” water table (great for very little ones or those who are hesitant to get in the sprinkler or pool)
  • wash cloths and rags
  • Ice! Freeze water in ice cube trays or containers of all shapes/sizes--you can add food coloring, glitter, even small toys

“Non-traditional” Water Toys:
  • toy cars and sponges make a great car wash--you can even add shaving cream for suds!
  • plastic animals or plastic dinosaurs
  • plastic baby dolls and washcloths
  • Legos/Duplos or Mega Blocks--if building towers indoors on dry land is fun, think how fun it will be in the sprinkler outside!
  • balls/balloons
  • plastic food and toy dishes--outdoor tea party, anyone?
  • shovels/pales and toys traditionally used in sand are also fun to explore in water
  • craft foam shapes and foam puzzle pieces (these make awesome bathtub stickers when wet!)

Natural Materials:
  • Sticks and twigs
  • Pine cones, seed pods
  • Flowers, leaves
  • Wood circles, drift wood
  • Seashells
  • Rocks and large pebbles

Art Materials--just add water!
  • Watercolor paints
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Things to paint/color on: Paper, white coffee filters, paper towels, tissue paper
  • Things to paint with: paint brushes, sponges, squirt bottles and spray bottles
  • Paint with water books (available at Dollar Tree)

For the Very Young:
Set up a “pop-up” water table using a bin or bowl of water (or a few) and choose some add-ins:
  • Frozen teething toys (great for teething babies!)
  • Teething rings
  • Water safe plastic rattles and baby toys
  • Any materials from the above list that are not choking hazards

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