Tuesday, July 11, 2023
Summer is certainly in full gear!
We’ve both been savoring family time these past two weeks
with our Middles and our Littles!
Fourth of July gatherings, a special birthday and family reunions
have all been celebrated in our worlds
and while we are a bit weary we cherished each moment!
NOW, we are ready to turn our attention to the summer days still to come!
Many of us will be caring for the Littles in our lives during the next several weeks
and we all are looking for simple, fun and engaging activities
to keep them entertained!
As a reminder, here are the topics we’ve covered so far this summer
as part of our Summer Camp with the Grands series!
If interested, tap the above links to view ALL the ideas offered within each topic!
You may also find our two posts that focus on RAINBOWS helpful
as they are filled with lots of colorful fun, too!
For the next several weeks, each post will feature a new topic
featuring activities and adventures for Littles
from infancy through elementary school!
Today, we’re excited to share our SPLISH! SPLASH! post with you all!
Water play is the perfect way to celebrate summer with Littles… of all ages!
Usually, when we think of water and summer,
we think of time spent at the pool or the beach!
While these are, of course, wonderful adventures to share with our Littles,
it’s not always practical to drop everything and head that way!
Our Littles can, however, have just as much fun with
water sensory play activities that can easily be incorporated
-with a few buckets, large plastic containers, a kiddie pool or a water table-
right in our own backyards!
With the weather heating up, there's nothing more refreshing for your Littles
that splashing in water on a hot humid day!
What are the benefits of water play?
There are SO many! Here’s a few we find worth mentioning!
💧 Water play provides opportunities to develop gross and fine motor skills!
As our Littles splash, scoop, pour, squeeze, fill and empty containers they continuously develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination! Large muscle strength is developed as our Littles carry and pour bigger and heavier buckets of water from container to container and gross motor skills grow as Littles kick, splash and glide through water!
💧 Water play builds vocabulary and communication skills!
You can add most any play item to water - toy cars, a baby doll, rocks, dinosaurs, bubbles or sponges are only a few options! Each new way of playing with water provides exposure to new vocabulary words… The possibilities are endless!
💧 Water play can increase creativity and imagination!
Change water play regularly for your Littles! In doing so, you’ll create exciting experiences, encourage new discoveries and spark imaginative thinking! You can do this easily by adding food coloring or dish soap to water, by varying the size of the pouring materials being used or by providing new play items to use in water - rocks, play boats, pipe cleaners… anything will work and will often be fascinating to your Littles!
💧 Water play promotes problem solving and cognitive growth!
Your Littles will be intrigued as they experiment with water and its properties… finding out how water moves or flows as well as what floats or sinks! Older Littles will have fun learning about cause and effect as well as measurements as they fill containers of different sizes and compare them to each other! Take the lead from your Littles as they investigate!
💧 Water play can be therapeutic!
While water play can be loud and boisterous it can also be incredibly soothing and calming! Much like we Grands relish relaxing in a warm bath, our Littles can benefit from the gentle and repeated movements of running their hands through water as they scoop and pour!
💧 Water play is FUN!!!
Who doesn’t love splashing in water, especially on a hot, humid day! By offering a variety of water based experiences and letting our Littles lead the way, we can encourage their natural curiosity and engage them in meaningful and memorable ways!
Check out the WET and winning water-themed activities below…
scroll through for ideas that focus on your Little’s age, abilities and interests!
Infants are often introduced to water play while in the bath tub! But, during the summer, it’s time to think beyond the tub and head outside for some wet play with your Little one! Whether your Little is working on tummy time, sitting, scooting or already crawling the activities below will provide loads of fun! Just remember, adult supervision is required - your Little will need physical support from you in order to explore water safely! And, be sure that your littlest Little is adequately protected with clothing/sun hat and sunscreen before heading outside, too! Don’t forget that you’ll probably get wet, too, as splashing will be an essential factor! 😅
Here are some fun ways to incorporate water play
into time spent with your infant Littles!
For young infants (3-6 months and then older), you can place them in a baby bathtub, but do so outside on the grass! Be sure to add warm water BUT don’t fill it too much - a few inches will be perfect!! Your Little will have the support he/she needs and then you can put a moist towel on the tummy or head, you can gently pour (or sprinkle) some water over your Little’s arm or leg and you can lightly splash them. Fill a washcloth with water and let your Little hold it, if able! Don't be surprised if the cloth ends up in your Little's .mouth... he/she is simply exploring these new textures! Be sure to watch your Little carefully - for safety, but also to be sure he/she is enjoying the experience, and adapt as needed!! NOTE: You can also put your Little in a small bin or wash basin for this activity, especially if he/she is able to sit up independently!
Add some small toys to the water (even ones, like a rubber duck, that you can later squirt from). Use words like water, splash, pour, drip, wet, as you play with your Little. Help your Little kick his/her feet to make splashes, too!
Sponges are a fun alternative to a wash cloth so soak it all up! Show your Little how to fill the sponge with water and then how you squeeze the water out - on everything around you both!
If your Little still enjoys tummy time, add a half inch of warm water to a sheet pan and place it on a big towel on the grass. Put your Little on the towel and let him/her explore the water… add one or two small rubber balls to the tray, too! As your Little moves the water around and begins to discover the cause/effect of splashing, giggles will ensue!
Bring your Little’s high chair outside and fill the tray with water - a half-inch will do! Your Little will be able to sit up and splash in the water! Add a few toys (maybe even a small boat) for your Little to explore!
Scooping up water is another fun option for Littles who are able to sit up independently. Put your Little on a big towel in the grass and add a big bowl, filled part way with water. Then add a few plastic spoons and smaller scoops. Your Little will love filling and emptying the containers!
As your Littles grow older and become stronger and more independent,
the water play options are endless!
Here’s some of our favorites!
WATER PLAY WITH SCOOPS, FUNNELS, FLY SWATTERS & MORE!
This activity was super easy to set up and provided some quality play time as well as lots of pouring practice! Laura filled a tub half full of water and then gave Little L some utensils she’d found around the kitchen - several sizes of scoops or measuring cups, a funnel, a slotted spoon, measuring spoons, a strainer and a whisk! Later, we even added a fly swatter (one we’d cleaned ahead of time 😉) and splashed away!
PIPE CLEANER FISH!
For this activity, Laura bent and twisted pipe cleaners to fashion colorful fish! We put the “fish” in a tub of water and added a strainer to the tub. Laura’s great niece, Little M caught the fish, one by one! Since Little M is three years old, Laura challenged her by asking her to catch the blue fish, then the pink one, then 2 fish, and so on!
NOTE: Do you see the rocks in the tub, too? Before we started catching pipe cleaner fish, we went looking for rocks and washed them in the water! FUN!
POM POM SPLASH!
These water balls were a great investment and are a reasonable alternative to the more expensive reusable water balloons that we’ve seen everywhere lately. Laura found a set of 80 at Amazon (and then shared them with a few Grand friends since there were SO many in a set!) These are like giant pom poms and both Little L and Little M had fun playing with them over two weekends! When filled with water, they are fun to squeeze, to scoop up or to throw! Little L spent her time throwing them in the kiddie pool and then throwing them out of it! (Easy clean up, too! We just let the water balls air dry overnight outside and then, if still wet, we'd put them in a mesh bag and put them in the dryer for a bit.)
Well, this was fun and another super easy activity to set up! Laura and Little L and then Little M kept returning to this activity, changing out what we washed… toy fruits and veggies, a baby doll and favorite farm animals! We used a sponge to wash our toys but you could use a washcloth or a brush! You could even add a bit of soap for a bubbly experience! Use what you have! 😍
NOTE: You can also use a slotted spoon or spatula and transfer your toys from the tub of water to another container! This would be an excellent activity to support hand-eye development!
COOKIE CUTTER FISHING!
Since Laura's was at the lake the past two weekends, fishing was definitely on our minds! So, here’s another fun fishing activity! Little M and Laura used some play dough cookie cutters we had and we made a hook out of a pipe cleaner. Then Little M (who is 3) went fishing! At first she just had fun hooking the cookie cutters and bringing them out of the water. Then Laura asked her to catch the fish shaped like a bear or like a circle or like a duck! Little M enjoyed this new challenge!
A FAVORITE PRODUCT TO SHARE - A PLAY SINK!
While we are not a blog that sells or promotes products for money, every now and then, as you've probably noticed, we come across a product that we love and just want to share! Laurie’s Little D recently received this play sink for her second birthday, and she is obsessed with it!
The sink uses a couple of batteries, you fill the bottom with water, and it recycles it through when you turn the faucet on. Littles can play with the food and dishes that come with it, as well as wash their own hands and real fruit in it!
the sink cannot overflow if the water is left on.
It has drainage holes on the side!
How wonderful is that?
As Littles get older, water play gets even more exciting!
Check out these tried and true ideas!
LET’S MAKE A CAR WASH!
This is a fun activity for preschoolers who love to play with cars!. Laurie set out a “driveway” (bin lid), a bin with soapy water, a wire basket (so the water could flow through), and a scrubby brush.
Laurie’s Little (her great nephew) lined up his play vehicles on the “driveway”. Then, one at a time, he drove them into the soapy bin where he scrubbed each with a brush. (This was a new toilet bowl brush that Laurie found at a Dollar Store. A sponge or washcloth would work, as well.)
Next the car moved into the rinsing station! We rinsed each car with a sprinkler attachment on a hose. You could also use a watering can or spray bottle.
Lastly, Laurie’s Little lined the cars up at the drying station. (the black table)!
Don’t you wish your own Littles enjoyed washing your cars this much??
A GRAND TIP for Toddlers!
Little D (just under 2) didn’t quite get the progression of the car wash yet...
but she was happy with a bucket and washcloth as she washed her little wagon!
Laurie’s kindergarten team would make these sponge balls for the kids to play with on the last day of school! (Tap on the link for directions to make them.) The Sponge Ball games certainly made for some fun, silly outdoor water time together! If you don’t care to make them, you could always use a plain sponge. The great thing about sponges is that they pack a WET punch! There are so many things you can do with them!
NOTE: While the activities below were played with full kindergarten classes, they would be equally fun to play with your Little(s) or as a multi-age activity during a family celebration or reunion!
Stand very close to your partner with a very wet Sponge Ball. “Toss” it to your partner. Then both partners take a step back. Toss again. Keep tossing and moving backwards to see how far apart you can get while still throwing and catching the Sponge Ball successfully!
For this game, all you will need is a big wall, a tree or a fence. How high can the Littles/players throw the WET Sponge Ball?
Laurie’s class did lose one on top of the roof one year!
Watch for that kid to make the major leagues some day!
Drench the Teacher!
(or the Grand!)
Laurie started far away and the kids stood behind a line and threw the balls at her! After each throw, Laurie took a step closer and then closer. The students were so thrilled when they could “hit” Laurie! (Sponge Balls do not hurt - they are just very wet!)
These next games work best for whole families to play together!
For this game, one person is it. He/she has the Sponge Ball. When a player is hit by the ball, the player is frozen until another player crawls through his/her legs and unfreezes the player. When the Sponge Ball is no longer wet, you start a new game with a new tagger!
Duck Duck, All Wet!
This game is played just like Duck, Duck Gray Duck, but the player who is “It” has a Sponge Ball (or a cup of water works well, too) “It” goes around the circle, placing the sponge (or cup of water) over each person’s head. When “It” decides to tag someone, he/she yells “All Wet!” and squeeze the Sponge Ball over that person’s head (or dumps the cup of water).. The wet player chases “It” around the circle and tries to catch “It” before he/she sits down!
For those older Littles - our tweens (fourth grade and up),
we’ve found these fun resources for you to consider…
a variety of water games and a backyard science activity, too!
From Play Party Plan
The most fun water games ever! Water balloon games, water slide games, and slip n slide games! Tons of games for any age!
From Birthday Party Ideas 4 Kids
Keep the kids cool and having fun with these outdoor water balloon games!
From Steam Powered Family
3, 2, 1 Blast off with fun this summer! These bottle rockets are a simple and fun summer STEM activity - a favorite of kids everywhere!
We hope our ideas have inspired you to beat the heat this summer
with some cool down “Splish Splash” fun!
Be sure to check out
during the coming week!
We’ll be highlighting more Splish! Splash! fun there each day!
You can also find us on Pinterest where we’ve linked
many of the activities featured here!
We’ll be back next Tuesday, July 18, with our next post,
Paws, Tails & Scales! Summer Camp with the Grands!
Should be a fun one!
❤️ We are delighted to join these link up parties and blog hops this week: