Even though I wish all summer could be spent outside rainy days or too hot days means more time inside and for antsy toddlers that can be hard. This activity occupied my 2 year old for a good 40 minutes and she had fun too. Below are a few tips on how to make play like this last longer without sparing the fun.
- Gather your materials. We grabbed an apron, a pot, some corks, spoons and a ladle . We also used dish soap half way through.
- Start by filling the sink and asking your child if they want to cook.
- Let them play.
- Without prompting she through corks in and then scooped them out and into the pot. Can you say hand eye coordination development ?
- She mixed and splashed . When she was tiring of it I asked if she wanted to look at all the different tools for cooking. She loved the whisk.
- Next I asked if she wanted bubbles…of course that was a yes too .
- The whisk was extra fun in the bubbles. She even caught a cork.
- For us the sign that she was done was that these big waves turned into let’s make Mama wet even after reminders that the water stays in the sink. You will find your child’s own end signs where gentle redirection fails and every day will be different, some days this will last a long time others it just won’t. It’s not you or your child it’s just the way it is, if it fails try again another day.
Throughout the pretend play I followed her lead. She told me it was cheese soup and I asked her questions about her cheese soup, about cooking etc… I know that pretending doesn’t come naturally to all parents but try to at least ask a few questions and indulge their imaginations. It’s ok to feel silly sometimes even if it doesn’t come naturally.
If you combine water balloons with art you’ll get this super fun summer activity! Right after my son turned 4 all of a sudden his finger took the shape of a gun, his pretend play switched from firefighters to police, bad guys and super heroes and my sanity got a little more fragile. I am a born pacifist so it’s taken me some time to acclimatize to bombs, blasters and such. One way that we have addressed it in our house is you guessed it, art and play. A project like this that channels the aggression and need for destruction was the answer for us. It was also fun!
- Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a container, a canvas, water color crayons ( or washable markers), and a kid ready to blast a few things.
- Start by coloring the canvas with water color crayons – washable markers will work too, just use darker more vibrant colors.
- Fill up some balloons.
- Go outside.
- Throw! My son was adamant that he could throw it at it and had fun even though none of the first round of balloons hit it, although some were really close.
- Dropping them worked way better!
- Check out how the canvas has changed!
- A few days later we tried adding washable marker.
- Blasted it with water “shooters”- liquid syringes since we were all out of water balloons, after I told him we could go blast some, luckily this was available and just as “cool”.
- Worked great.
- Let dry – pull out again and again, I think we are going to do this many more times for the rest of the summer. The layers of color will be so cool.
* As with every craft please make sure you only do crafts that you and your child can do safely. Broken balloons can be very dangerous for kids who are still putting things in their mouths. Please ensure all pieces are picked up and disposed of so we can all keep playing and creating. *
Blast those darn piggies with water balloon Angry Birds! Inspired by the mega popular video game Angry Birds this takes the game outside into the sun for fun all summer long.
Earlier this year we featured a post by contributing writer Kim about playing Real Life Angry Birds. Well because of that post I finally downloaded the game and have been not so shamefully in love with the game ever since. When the sun finally came out I knew we needed to adapt Kim’s post into something for outside in the sun. So of course we needed to include water balloons and a little art too! To say we had fun would be the understatement of the century- this was incredibly awesome.
- Gather your materials. You will need some water balloons, a permanent marker ( optional) and some washable sidewalk chalk . The washable chalk obviously comes off when hit with a few balloons so it’s great for this activity. You may also want a bag or bowl to rest your balloons in so that they aren’t on the pavement where they may pop.
- Start by filling your balloons.
- Carefully add angry faces with the permanent marker.
- Draw your pigs ( if you aren’t familiar with the game these piggies are your targets). I did the green, he did (some) blue!
- Get ready to smash those pigs! This can also be a lesson in sizes .
- Get those bad pigs!
- Keep blasting . Between balloons I would pretend to tweet a whistle and announce ” Clean Up Crew – Time Out!” then quickly retrieve all the pieces of each water balloon. Please be sure to dispose of them carefully, and keep them out of your children’s reach as deflated balloons are unsafe for kids. We used neon balloons so the bright colors would be easy to spot.
- We kept going back to make more “birds”.
- At the end of the game I had my son be the final cleaning crew looking for balloon pieces.
To tell you the truth I didn’t plan this activity, I saw the fishing net , wanted to do something with it and didn’t have much for my son to catch so instead I made some ice. To make it more fun we colored the ice, then to make it more educational we made them red and yellow to create orange ! It was a big hit and not as big a mess as I feared .
- Gather your materials. You will need a bin or tub, a ice cube tray , food coloring , a fish net ( or soup ladle) and water. You will also need plain ice for the second part.
- Start by putting a few drops of food coloring in your ice tray – half one color, half the other.
- Add water and freeze.
- Fill your tub with water – ours was too warm, the ice melted so quickly the color mixing was fast. When I do it again I will use cold water so it’s a slower mix.
- When ice firm, show it to your child and tell them you are going to put it in the water. Ask them to make a prediction about what will happen to the ice when it is in the water, what will happen to the water ? Pop it in!
- Mix and catch with net.
- Pop in more plain ice to “fish” – my son had fun with the color mixing but the extension of the activity was the real fun.
Water tables are not cheap, a pain to store if like up you have short warm months, and for people in smaller houses, condos and apartments bulky even if they are being used. So this is an easy and fun way to play with water with simple toys and tools that can be used for other things as well. The bike helmet is optional.
- Gather your materials. You will need a plastic bin ( I got this one in the dish rack aisle at Walmart for under $3, some fun beach type toys like this water mill which I love because it is so dynamic and was bought at Target for $1.99, then a turkey baster, a silly funnel and measuring cups from my kitchen. Also water !
- There aren’t many steps other than play outside, or place some towels down around it as well as have some handy if you are playing inside.
- For more fun add ice cubes and/or bath toys.
- If you are doing this outside after your child has had enough , water your plants, grass and flowers!
Books About Water
Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen is a funny little story about a group of animals trying to get into a little rowboat without capsizing. The reader is asked time and time again who they think sank the boat was it the big cow? The fat pig? you’ll have to read to find out. This would be a fun book to read while exploring a Sink and Float activity.
Big Red Tub by Julia Jarman is a silly tale with really great little subtle details. A brother and sister are in the tub splashing about when their dog jumps in. The fun continues with more and more animals jumping in the big red tub. Finally the tub breaks free from the bathroom and eventually ends up in space! It’s a fantasy but they come back down to reality when mom walks through the door , complete with briefcase while dad is in the background with the shampoo. I loved that detail, nothing is overt but for families with stay at home dads it’s a great shout out I think. Also if you look closely you will see some of the animals that jumped in the bath as toys, slippers and more strewn about the bathroom.
Water by Tara McClintick a preview can be read online here on memetales. The book is a wordless collection of photos of water proceeded by a poem about water. The photos include water in many different forms, a water fountain , pool, shower, glass of water and more. I love that it shows how water is used for so many purposes, delivered in so many different ways but are is always wet. Great basic book!