When the weather gets hot, we need to cool off! For many of us parents, some of our fondest childhood memories are poolside, on the lakefront or at the beach. Were you the type of kid who practically slept in your bathing suit from June to September? Well you're not alone! Kids love the water. And often, it doesn't truly feel like summer until you're cannonballing into some body of water.
While many waterparks and other water-based vacation spots are opening back up, you may be hesitant to gather in such large numbers. We all have to do what's best for our kids without depriving them of one of the essential joys of summer.
As we've discussed before, outdoor play is essential for kids all year long, even in winter. Being outside has been shown to improve everything from our kids reflexes to their mood. The outdoors is an endlessly stimulating environment for curious minds. Ever-changing sights, smells and sounds pull our kids in a hundred different directions for them to explore, investigate and interact. Crucially, outdoor activities are shown to reduce stress in children. We put so much pressure on our kids to make every moment count and make sure every activity has a positive outcome. Unstructured play in nature removes the pressure to perform. There is no end result. Just fresh air and good fun.
So, how can you make a splash in your own backyard? Let's grab our swimsuits and dive in!
A bucket full of water balloons can create lots of different games! To mix up the basic water balloon fight, try hiding the balloons around the backyard – or the whole neighborhood – for a pre-battle easter egg hunt. You can also use balloons as points in a trivia game or physical contests to make each team in the fight earn their arsenal!
Big or small, an inflatable kiddie pool can host a bunch of fun backyard games. Adding sensory objects is great fun for little kids. Cups, fabric flowers, sponges and more all make for interesting play. You can combine cut-up pool noodles and toothpicks for kids to create floating water sculptures. For older kids, you can grease up hollow plastic balls with vegetable shortening and stage your own version of Hungry, Hungry, Hippos!
Take it back to the source: the garden hose! You can use the steady stream of water to create a floating limbo bar. Aim the spray to "tag" players in Simon Says or Mother May I. If you feel like going DIY, you can turn a pool noodle into a sprinkler or even create your own water slide!
We hope this list sparks your imagination and makes a splash the next time your kids are looking for some wet and wild outdoor fun!