My children are a bit water obsessed! I thought it was because we live in the desert, but they’re like this when we visit southern rellies as well. So here they are:
- Freeze it – Baby too young for solids but wants to be involved at mealtimes? Give them an ice slushy to play with. Don’t use cubes because it can be a choking hazard. For older babies and toddlers, freeze things inside the ice cubes for them to suck during summer. Older kids – how about freezing water in larger plastic containers and putting it in the pool as a toy?
- Water balloons – These are just fun! You can do all sorts of things – fill them up different amounts and see how easily they burst, challenge them to see how many times they can throw and catch them before dropping them, who can throw them the furthest without breaking them!
- Measure it – There are all sorts of ways to measure water. Build a rain gauge, put a container under a leaky tap (or if someone isn’t too good at turning it off) and see how long it takes to fill, put the plug in the bath and see how much water you use during a shower, pull lots of containers out of the plastics cupboard and pour water between them to compare which is bigger/smaller.
- Pour it – Babies will love pouring water, a big tub and some smaller plastic containers are great. When they get older try some funnels and pipes, big kids could make a water ‘obstacle course.’ Cut the top off a cool drink or milk bottle for a quick and easy funnel.
- Swim in it – ok, that’s the obvious one! But you don’t need a pool, try plastic tubs with some warm water in them for a change in winter, or even an enormous mud puddle in the garden.
- Make footprints – A wide fairly flat container or puddle is good to put little feet in, then walk or run on a flat surface. Compare different people, different feet, different speeds of walking, and how long they last in the shade or sun.
- Watch a convection current – This is how heat is distributed in the oceans and atmosphere. As water is warmed it becomes less dense and rises, at the surface it has to move sideways then it gets cooler and heavier and moves down again. Put some water in a glass or jar, then carefully use a dropper to put food colouring down the bottom at one side. If you have a solid that makes a bright colour this works really well. Hold the jar with the colour over a candle and watch, you will see the colour start to move up and around in a circle.
- Splash it – Stamp! in that puddle, Bang! down with your hand, Flick! the drops off. Splashing is one of the first games babies learn, and it is just as much fun when you get older.
- Drip it – Watch the water slowly, slowly, slowly building up and trembling on the end of the dropper, then Drip! down it goes into the puddle below. Watch the splash and the ripples spreading out where it landed. Sit in the bottom of the shower and see the little islands created by the water, see if you can gently move them or join them up.
- Shoot it – Who doesn’t love playing with water pistols? See how far you can shoot it, what happens when you elevate it? What happens as the water runs out? Learn about cause and effect by shooting your mother!
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