Sand and Water Play: Building Rivers



When it comes to messy play there is just nothing like good old-fashioned sand and water play!


sand and water play:  teaching about rivers and erosion



We are lucky enough to have a pond next door at the in-laws’ for plenty of messy fun, but a sand box or even a storage container with play sand will also provide you with hours of entertainment and learning possibilities.

This week we built rivers, dams, ponds, and even talked about erosion.  The kids not only had fun, but they learned a lot, too! (And I really loved that they worked together!)

messy play: sand and water



It was completely their idea to make a river, and I enjoyed watching them work together to scoop out the sand and use buckets of water to get the river flowing.

After a while I showed them where the sand was washing away in the spots they poured water.  I explained that this is called erosion and happens along creeks and rivers near us.  I also pointed out that the sand wasn’t washing away the ground where the plants were.  It led to a lovely discussion on how the plants were helping the ground stay in place.

sand and water play:  building rivers



At some point the kids started hauling gravel to their river.  Originally they made a few little waterfalls in it.

When one got a bit larger, I mentioned that they could build a dam.

sand and water play:  learning about rivers and dams


Eventually the top of the river became a pond, in which a serious accident involving a semi-truck occurred….

sand and water play


(Don’t worry!  The trailer portion of the semi-truck actually was holding a shark, who was very happy to have found a large body of water.)


Kids are constantly learning through their play, which is why it’s so important they get those opportunities!

This week it was rivers, next week… Who knows!




15 Outdoor Water Play Ideas



It’s half way through the summer, time to pull out some new ideas for the kids!

If your kids are already tired of the same old water balloons, squirt guns, and sprinklers when it comes to outdoor water play, here are a few new ways to play with water to keep you going these next few weeks!


15 fun outdoor water play ideas to keep kids busy this summer



Instead of water balloons, have a Sponge Ball Water Fight like Create.Craft.Love.

Don’t just make a sprinkler, make a Glow in the Dark Sprinkler like this one at The Pink Lab.

Create a Water Obstacle Course like this one from Meaningful Mama.

Chill out on your very own Water Blob like this one from There’s Just One Mommy.

Explore these Water Math and Science Activities from The Measured Mom.

Get artistic with Water Balloon Color Mixing from No Time for Flash Cards.

Or Paint with Colored Ice like There’s Just One Mommy.

Make washing dishes fun with an Outdoor Dishwashing Station from Mama. Papa. Bubba.

Float boats down your own Foil River like this one from I Can Teach My Child.

Or create a Rain Gutter River like the one from Squashed Tomatoes.

Work together to build your own Water Wall like this one from recyclables at There’s Just One Mommy.

Make Rainbow Bubble Snakes like these super cool ones at Housing a Forest.

Or just have fun making a ton of Rainbow Bubbles like these from Gift of Curiosity.

Let the kids experiment with mixing colors with this Colored Water Play from There’s Just One Mommy.

Mix two loves:  Legos and Water with these ideas from Fun at Home with Kids.


Whatever you do, have fun and stay cool these next few weeks!

Remember, there are only 18 summers in their childhood; make this one memorable!


Shaving Cream Sensory Play



Shaving cream is a cheap and fun sensory item for kids to explore!

Usually I just squirt a bit on the kitchen table and they spread it out to draw or write letters, smear it to erase and start over.  (This is great for kids just learning to write and also perfect for practicing spelling words!)

Last year we added sand and even water beads to the shaving cream.  Both were big hits!

This week’s rain was the perfect time for some more shaving cream fun.   I decided to just squirt a bunch of shaving cream into our sensory bin and see what they did with it.

The kids couldn’t wait to get their hands into the fluffy whiteness!

shaving cream sensory play


The five year-old decided to push a few cars around in it.

But the six year-old went all out!


shaving cream sensory play


She started by covering her arms, loving the feel of the thick shaving cream clinging to her skin.

At some point she got a few play kitchen dishes to cook up some pies…  And then it was back to painting herself white!

She really liked trying to walk on the shaving cream covered plastic.  And, at some point, she even made shaving cream angels.  (Needless to say it was bath time when she finished!)

shaving cream sensory play


This is the first time she really had an opportunity to explore the shaving cream with her whole body, and she LOVED it!    It’s fun seeing  just how different kids are when it comes to playing with this stuff!


Have your children played in shaving cream before?  Are they careful in their approach (like my son), or are they an all-in kid like my daughter?

Activities for the Letter Y



If you are a regular reader here, you know we’ve been doing a vehicle alphabet series.

We have just two letters left!   Today it’s time for activities for the letter Y!

preschool activities for letter Y


The day we did our letter Y activities I used sidewalk chalk to write the letter Y, along with a few other random letters, around the outside of the house.

After breakfast the kids went on a “Y” hunt!

letter y activity -- letter scavenger hunt



To make it more challenging for my 6 year-old I wrote several words that use the letter “Y” and asked her to read them when we found them.   (I used the words “you,” “yes,” “yellow,” “by,” and “why” which are all words she learned this year in kindergarten.

As she read the words we talked about the sounds the letter “Y” makes.  The 5 year-old had fun practicing the “Y” sounds.

We had one other activity to get us moving and learning outside… a letter “Y” hopscotch!

letter Y activity -- letter hopscotch



The idea was to only jump on the letter Y, avoiding any other letters.  I quickly found that they are really good at this!


When we went inside the 5 year-old worked on writing capital and lower-case “Y” with this letter Y worksheet.  

letter y activities


They both colored  some yacht coloring sheets I found online.  (After all, sticking with the vehicle-theme, “Y is for yacht!”)

And then it was time to build our own yachts!

y activities -- simple yacht craft for the letter Y



We used a block of styrofoam that I cut ahead of time to make the boat’s hull.  (If you have to cut it, i suggest doing it outside!)

For the masts we used drinking straws.  Use a pencil tip to poke a hole in the styrofoam; it makes it easier to push the straw into place!

Then we added colorful paper sails and our yachts were ready to sail!

letter y activity -- floating yachts