- Gather your materials. You will need some water, and a variety of paint brushes ( make sure they are clean you don’t want to really paint your house).
- Dip your paint brush into the water and start painting! Fences or other unpainted works the best because it will darken when “painted”.
- While you are painting with your child, point out the dry wall and the wet brush and ask them what happens when they paint it. Little exchanges like this are fantastic teaching opportunities. Remember though if they just want to do it in peace, let them you can always recap later.
- When your child starts getting uninterested- in a insanely enthusiastic way introduce the next brush. I know that this is hard for people who aren’t used to being surrounded by small kids , but a little enthusiasm goes a long way- feel free to fake it too .My son loved the roller- I gave it to him last and ended up having to go grab a coffee cause he played with it for almost 20 minutes alone! ( by grabbing a coffee I mean from my kitchen , not Starbucks).
This is a fun activity for a nice day! Kids love to do things they see grown ups do and the clean toys are a nice side effect!
- Gather your materials. What you need for this is a bowl or bucket of water, some dish or hand soap, some wash clothes or sponges, a dish towel and the toys you are going to wash. I like to use sponges because they are easy to cut small enough for toddler hands.
- Put the soap in the water, and get some bubbles going.
- Grab a sponge and clean those cars!
- After sponging them down make sure you dry them well and I let them sit upside down so no water gets stuck in any crevasses.
Need Truck themed books to go along with your car wash? We have a bunch of fun ones to suggest!
- Gather your materials. You will need some paint ( at least 2 colors for a cool effect), a plate, paper and most importantly a fun sponge like this glass scrubber!
- Pour a few different paint colors onto a plate.
- Dip your sponge in and have fun. My son loved this activity, possible too much!
- Do make sure the paint you are using is non toxic, and watch carefully that they don’t bite the sponge and choke.Do not laugh at your child’s antics, it will only encourage them, as will picture taking, trust me I know!
- Keep offering new paper if they are interested, my son made 3 beautiful paintings ! Also older children can wait until the paint is dry than make pictures like flowers, fish, bugs or aliens out of the prints!
- Gather your materials. All you need is a glass jar and somewhere to discover nature!
- Start finding things to put in your jar. My son thought this clam shell was pretty cool but it was too big! I like to put a layer of sand or grass in first and then put larger things on top. With older children I would set out a mini scavenger hunt ( find 3 rocks, 5 leaves, 4 shells…) , toddlers will have a blast just picking things up and popping them in the jar.
- I tried to find all different shells, pointing out what color they were to my son, but he was more interested in rocks! Still I was shocked how well he walked along the beach searching for rocks to pop in!
- Keep going until the whining or in our case the rain starts.
- Pop the lid on and take the nature home with you to recount your day later!
* Recounting an activity is a great thing to do with your child, it is actually a very important skill and is important for early literacy , so sit down even with toddlers and pull out your jar and talk about what you did at the beach/park !
Note to Parents: Relax, put down a towel and don’t you dare do this in the bath tub, kids love water and they need to have fun and explore how it feels, works and looks outside of the routine of a bath.
- Gather your materials. I like to use a container in relation to your child’s age. So the smaller the baby the smaller the tupperware ! You should never have anything large enough that a child could get into and cause themselves harm. You don’t need a huge container for a good time. You will also want some fun things to put in the water- oh and you may want to make sure anything you don’t want in the water is out of reach!
- Have fun pouring and if you have an older child, grab some measuring cups and measure out the water, pour it fast, or slow, try to make a teeny tiny trickle. Follow your child’s lead, if pouring is boring move on!!
- Get your testers ready- find things in your house for this experiment! Young toddlers will have fun splashing but I have done this experiment with kids as young as 2 successfully. Be animated, follow their cues and throw those toys in the water! As you pop them in ask your child if they think it will stay bouncy floating on top or if they will fall all the way to the bottom and sink.
- If your child likes to learn with words and charts make a simple chart like this one. You can test out each object and put them in the right colum. If your child just thinks it’s fun to put the wet toys on paper that’s cool too. Don’t push , we want them to explore.
- If you have an older child try making predictions before the experiment. I have always been amazed that the Melissa and Doug blocks don’t sink, they get me every time! I had to go searching for this car just so I had something to sink! Remember it’s great to admit that you thought one thing and were shocked to be proven wrong, discover things with your child !
Note to Parents - I have met very few preschoolers ( and I know lots) that don’t love to sing, so why not!! Also when you sing with your child don’t worry about how you sound, they don’t care, in my opinion the sillier the better!
Here is one of my favorite songs with the water theme in it! This was always a big hit with my students. Click on the video to see how silly adults with no make up and messy hair are singing kids songs- and for the actions!
Five green and speckled frogs
sat on a speckled log
eating the most delicious bugs
yum yum !
One jumped into the pool
where it was nice and cool
now there are 4 green speckled frogs
Keep going until no more left!
Here are some great picture books that support this theme, so if your child had fun with the water and or song you could introduce these books at a quiet , or not so quiet time too!
“Splash!” by Flora McDonell
“Water is Wet” by Penny Pollack
Note to Parents – let your young child take the lead, they are always learning , always absorbing and not everything HAS to be a teachable moment. Suggest and offer activities but be prepared to end things early or move on to something else, that is ok, normal and healthy! Learning doesn’t happen in a forced environment , but rather one rich in opportunities and experiences!