Oh my goodness – this is a subject that I could literally go on about for hours… I’ll try and limit it a bit but prepare to be drowned with ideas!! I’ll stick with indoor activities in this post and do an outside one another time over the summer when the weather is nicer.
Water play can be as easy and stress free as you like… especially outside in the summer… but it can also be fun, easy and stress free indoors too. If you set up well then its easy and quick to clear away at the end. Playing with water has saved my sanity on many occasions, when I’m having a bad day or they are playing up. It can entertain for ages and I can just sit and watch if I’m having a bad day or do some house work around them. It’s so simple yet so fun and really easy to clear away. Water play is also fun for children of any age and just one child alone or a room full!
We quite often get a couple of tubs of water out in the living room. To set this up I use a plastic table cloth (or a messy play plastic sheet or something similar) and lay that on the floor… then I have an enormous towel or a couple of bath sheets and lay them on top of the plastic sheet. Have another towel on hand ready for afterwards to dry hands (or entire bodies if they are anything like William). When they are finished the tubs will probably be empty and the towel can just be hung out to dry ready for next time and the plastic underneath will have protected the floor/carpet underneath… and your done… easy! If you are playing outside you only need a towel for afterwards… very easy!
Lara and William pretty much love water in any form… Lara will stand at the kitchen sink for an hour ‘washing up’. I stand her in the ‘little helper funpod’ and put a towel in the bottom and a towel on the floor. Fill the sink up with warm water with loads of washing up liquid to make a ton of bubbles and give her loads of plastic things to wash up… I scoop up a load of bubbles in a little tub to give William on a towel on the floor with some wooden spoons and that entertains him for ages! sometimes adding some tins in the mix for a bit of banging at the same time = bubbles everywhere haha. Lara loves to just pour water from cup to cup and just doesn’t get bored with it! She only stops when she starts getting cold coz she’s soaked through! a quick change of clothes and put the towels in the wash and we are back to normal.
I have very grubby kids, they have to wash their hands ALOT… so we now have a step in the bathroom so Lara can do it herself… She puts the plug in and runs the tap… loads of soap and plays for ages, normally until I tell her she’s used enough soap for the whole road to wash their hands!
I think my second favourite activity with water is using ice. I use the plastic tubs you get take aways in, fill with water and add some plastic toys… I use things like beads, medals, stickle bricks, lego… whatever we have laying around really… put in the freezer and they are there when you want to play… this is a great one for adding a theme… e.g. dinosaurs, animals, letters to spell their name, christmas (baubles, tinsel, glitter) etc and also really easy to colour the ice with some food colouring before you freeze it. I use 2 large tubs and have the ice block in one and warm water in the other… lots of cups and spoons and small tubs to play with… and they have to pour water over the ice to melt it to get the goodies out… so much fun and mine both get soooooo excited when they have freed an item… Lara gives me a high five or has a little dance and gets straight back to it… I originally got this idea from a friend who did this with her son… instead of melting with water, she gave him a hammer to break it up… decided this would not go down well with my two when indoors but would be good for an older child.
My favourite activity is when they want to play with cotton wool… even I am amazed at how much water a handful of cotton wool will hold… William freaks out a bit when holding dry cotton wool but once its in the water its so much fun… Using 2 cups or tubs they transfer water from one tub to the other and lift it up out of the water and see how long it drips for and try and catch the water… they just love it.
A really really simple idea is to give them a cup/tub of water and a straw… blow bubbles and drink it.
Granny has been round to play today and what we have been doing today is by far the kids favourite water activity we have ever done… I bought a marble run from a car boot ages ago but I have never got it out coz I’m worried about William putting marbles in his mouth… So I got it out to play with the water… In the garden we use guttering to run water down so thought this would work in the same way… They both helped me build a tower and then poured some water down it… It’s brilliant!!! Can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner… We put the marble run in a big storage box on the floor and have another tub with warm water in it.
So.much.fun. We got the marbles in there too… which got stuck half way down coz of the water but then when you pour more water down it washes the marbles down too… I’m hoping they love this as much next time coz it’s fun for me too… It would also work really well in the bath if you are worried about water going everywhere and we think using bubble bath or washing up liquid would be fun too.
Ways to play…
- Cotton wool
- Items frozen in ice (food colouring optional)
- Drops of water on waxed paper/baking parchment and blow them along with a straw (could also be coloured)
- Float or sink game in deep tub
- Transferring water with different items (spoons, cups, tubs)
- Fun with funnels
- Blowing bubbles with a straw in a cup or tub of water
- Car wash – tray of water and bubbles and wash their toy cars and a towel at the end for drying (or any water friendly toys)
- Throw coins into a cup of water (like a wishing well)
- Fill the sink and let them play
- Fill a tub with bubbles from the sink when washing up
- Marble run for water (and marbles)
Have fun splashing around xx