What one word best sums up summer fun? Water. I bet your favorite memories as a child involved getting wet, running through sprinklers on a sweltering afternoon, water fights in the backyard, wading at the beach, playing on the slip & slide, and skipping rocks across the river. Your kids will relish the same experiences if they share them with you.
The real secret to having fun with kids is to be easy going enough to enjoy their company. Be sure to appreciate the little things like their suggestions for other games, their planning other times for play and the compliments that are sure to follow!
The memories will be of a parent who made the time to play with them, talk with them and laugh with them. More than anything else children want time with loving, relaxed parents, something they cannot get from a television program, video game, or anyone else in their lives.
Water cools kids down but also encourages spontaneous enjoyment. Because water does make kids a little wild, parents have to be aware of safety issues as well as fun.
Here are some ideas for a fun time in the water.
Sprinkler: this is a win- win situation! The kids get cool and the lawn gets watered.
Hose: adjust the nozzle so it shoots a thin stream of water. Have kids jump over it or limbo under it!
Water balloons: any game played with a ball will be more fun when you substitute a water balloon but be sure and pick up the bits of balloon afterwards. They can be a danger to toddlers, wildlife or your family pet.
Fill a large garbage bag with water, tie with a rope and hoist it over a branch of a tree. Blindfold the child, give him a stick & watch out!
You can make music without expensive instruments. All you need are some glasses (eight for a complete musical scale), some water and a spoon.
Fill the glasses with water a lot in the first glass, not quite so much in the next, a little less in the next, and so on, until in the last glass there is just a little bit of water. Now tap each glass gently with the spoon. Each one makes a different sound. Add or subtract water until each glass becomes a musical note. With a little practice and “tuning up, you can play a song. Try Happy Birthday or Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Maybe you can make up some songs of your own!
Nothing is more fun on a hot summer’s day than a water fight with buckets. Choose up sides and find a “time out” space for the old grouches (they will want to join when they see how much fun you are having). Invite the neighborhood and then have a watermelon bust afterward.
Floating Down the River
We are blessed to live in an area with beautiful rivers and streams. The absolute joy of watching nature from an inflatable raft or inner tube while floating is an opportunity to teach your children to appreciate all the earth has to offer us. Be sure everyone is wearing life jackets and then enjoy the day and each other. It is almost impossible to worry when you are splashing in the water.
Being a playful Parent means you have to incorporate fun and laughter into your day. Are you are the type who thinks a parent’s job is to worry, fret and work, work, work? Trust me, your children would much rather have a happy, smiling, fun loving parent who will interact with them joyfully than any toys from the store.
Enjoy the Trip
Everyone tells you to enjoy your children, because they grow up so fast. It is true! But the joy of playing is that you have an opportunity to be a child again with them. So grab your bucket and I’ll turn on the hose and we will meet in the back yard for a little fun in the water. It doesn’t matter if the clothes get wet and the floor gets muddy, because we are busy making memories.
2005 Judy H. Wright, Parent Educator
This article was written by Judy Wright, parent educator and author. Feel free to use it in your newsletter or publication, but please give full credit to the author and mention the contact information of
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