Splash Out

FRANCES MARTIN and son Elliott (2) have been embracing the warmer weather and getting a little wet. Frances shares some simply splashing ideas for backyard water play this summer.

Visions of sunny days in bright backyards beckon. One thing that every family can enjoy, no matter the size of their section or the balance of their budget, is water play – which provides plentiful opportunities for shared fun and meaningful learning.

There is so much wonder to be had in the backyard. All you need is a bit of water, household odds and ends, and a smidgen of imagination. You can make a rainbow appear while you’re watering the garden, use an old paintbrush and water to ‘paint’ a fence or driveway, make mud pies, or simply have a fabulous time doing chores like washing the car!

The following water-play ideas are easy to do at home, using resources that are readily available. Just remember to protect yourselves from the sun, and always supervise children around water.

IT’S DRAINING, IT’S POURING
Collect a variety of plastic containers, jugs, toys and so on. Raid your kitchen, recycling, or the local op-shop for interesting bits and pieces. If you have some old drain pipe, hose or tube, include that in your game too. Set them up in a tray or paddling pool – we use an old wheelbarrow. Fill them with water and get mixing and pouring!

FLOAT YOUR BOAT
Collect objects from around the house, garden or even the beach: aim for a variety of sizes, shapes and materials, and include items that are of interest to your child. Fill a paddling pool, water trough or bucket with water. Place your collection of objects in the water to see if they sink or float. Older children can create boats. They could make a vessel to hold a specific object and race across the tub.

FILL YOUR BUCKET
For this you will need two buckets, a large sponge and water for each team. Fill one bucket with water and leave the other one empty, then place the buckets on opposite sides of the lawn. Use the sponge to transfer all the water from the full bucket to the empty one. This is great for playing with the whole family. Sponges make great reusable water bombs too.

SNAKE IN THE GRASS
Hold a hose so that you can jump, leap or bunny-hop over the stream of water. Get the hose holder to wiggle it like a snake: up and down, side to side. Raise the height and try not to get your feet wet. Alternatively, play limbo under the stream of water.