Don’t work so hard…summer fun is easy!
Keep it simple…fun and learning can happen as easily as a bucket with water and a few ice cubes!
I was talking to my daughter the other evening after she had been babysitting some children of a wonderful Mom from one of my Mom’s groups I lead. She showed me pictures of the toddlers entertaining themselves with a tray of ice cubes. What a great way to spend the afternoon! I often want to tell Moms…”Don’t work so hard at it!” In other words, kids can be entertained and actually learn valuable concepts by simple activities. It often does not take a lot of money or expensive toys or classes to fill a morning or afternoon with fun and kids always learn with fun!
It is summer and water is one of the best entertainers. A baby pool filled with a couple of inches of water, a water table, or a large under bed plastic storage container filled with a few inches of water will entertain for long periods of time.
- Dump ice cubes in the water and let the kids try to scoop them up or catch them. Let them watch the ice melt.
- Add measuring cups, spoons, pitchers, sieves and other kitchen items. Let the children fill things up, pour and dump.
- Add a little bubble bath and let them use an egg beater to make bubbles.
- Take a bucket of water and add paint brushes and paint rollers. Let them “paint” the sidewalk, patio, deck, or brick house. My son “painted” our house for hours.
- Get the tricycles, wagons, or even your car out. Let the kids play car wash!
- What floats and what does not? Let your child figure it out!
- Pretend play with cups, spoons, and bowls…what will they “cook” with the water?
- Throw a package of new sponges in the mix. Can they fill up a new bucket by squeezing the sponges full of water?
- Add dishes and a dish cloth. Let them pretend to “wash” the dishes!
- Give a baby doll a bath.
- Have small trucks and cars out to wash or make bridges to get over the water.
Besides all of this fun…what has your child accomplished?
- Fine motor skills and eye hand coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting and scrubbing
- Math concepts of more/less, empty/full, greater than/less than
- Imaginative and creative play when playing car wash, painting, and cooking
- Verbal skills talking about what they are doing
So, relax, it is summer! Don’t work so hard Mom and Dad, keep it simple and fun. Take a child, add some supervision, and who knew a little water and ice could entertain and teach so much!
Take a breath, enjoy the joyful moments of each day, and remember you don’t have to be perfect to be the perfect parent.