Today is going to be 85°F, so it's only appropriate to discuss some water play activities that we love most here at Jellybean. When it's too hot for popsicles to cool off the kids by themselves, we love to break out the water in any way possible. Once the kids are in their bathing suits and covered with sunscreen, they can go crazy and have fun in the water while cooling off at the same time. Here are some different ways we bring out the water:
• Car/Bike Wash: Taking out all the bikes, cars, and wagons for a real car wash is exciting and different. We bring out a few buckets of soapy water, some rags, and the hose to allow the children to make our toys nice and clean. While they're at it, most start washing other things like the sheds or fence. This allows them to play in the cool water while helping out the school and teachers keep our class clean. We have many great helpers that are always willing to participate.
• Water Table: Filling up one of our sensory bins with water allows the children to integrate their normal play with water. Some kids put toys in the water, some like to step in the bucket, and some like to pretend they're giving their toys a bath. They're cooling down whichever way they use it.
• Sprinkler: A classic choice, the sprinkler is always a hit. We have one that looks like a caterpillar that moves its legs all different ways as the water runs through. We bring out buckets as well so the children can fill them up with the water from the sprinkler and pour it on themselves or a friend who agrees to be poured on. This is by far the most wet the children get out of all these activities.
• Water Wall: We have a water wall that Juju's husband, Jamie, made for one of our past walk-a-thons. It is made up of a bunch of different containers and pipes that move the water throughout the wall after the kids pour it down from the top. This is a really good way to explore water in a scientific way: watching it move through each container, discovering which route moves the water most and least, how gravity works, etc. The water wall is a great example of play-based learning.
• Spray Bottles: We sometimes bring out a few spray bottles filled with cold water and allow the children to spray themselves or spray their friends who want to be sprayed. This gives the kids a chance to cool off while playing normally.
• Watering Plants: As you may know, we have planted new flowers in the ground and in different pots all around the playground. We have our garden filled with plants as well. We also have trees that were planted last year and new ivy plants that Jonny Jon and Bubby planted to grow around our walk-through tunnel. We give the kids a chance to take part in this growth process so we fill up a big bucket of water and give the children small cups to go fill with water and walk over to a plant to fill it up. This is mainly for days when water play isn't an absolute must but it's still warm out enough for the kids to want to dip their hands in some cold water. The teachers are always close by to be sure the plants don't get flooded with water.
These are just a few different things we like to do when it gets too hot. Do you have a great water activity you'd like to share? Let us know. We love to try new things.