Get Moving: Play with Water Outside

Get Moving: Play outside in the Water
My 6-year-old starting the fountain design process with a hose, two watering cans, and buckets.

We’ve definitely had hot summertime weather for the last few weeks. We don’t have an air conditioner in our house, so in the afternoons things can get pretty warm. When the temperature creeps up, we frequently head outside for some water play.


Sometimes my boys pull out the hose and it hook up to a sprinkler. Often we fill water squirters with water and spray them into the air to make our own rain showers. Every once in a while we fill and toss water balloons. And on many afternoons, the boys create fountains out of an assortment of hoses, watering cans, and a hanging plant hook.


Whatever we choose to do, it’s cooling, it’s wet, and it’s a lot of fun. It also gets us all outside, and it gets us all moving.


In addition to good, wet fun, my boys have also learned about water flow and motion. After lots of experiments, my 6-year-old understands how water follows the path of least resistance, and spontaneously offers ideas on how we can re-grade our yard in order to [hopefully] avoid our house flooding in the future like it did in the Boulder Flood of 2013.


Both of my boys continue to learn about buoyancy as they test whether objects will sink or float. They’re also getting a firmer sense of volume and displacement as they add other objects to a bucket that’s already full of water and see what spills over the edge.


Porosity, figuring out how much liquid will be held by or will flow through various materials (from buckets, to planters, to their shirts and our reusable shopping bags), is also fun learning for them. Who isn’t curious about how long their shirt can hold water (if it can hold it at all)?


On these hot afternoons, teaching about evaporation is easy. My boys watch as our cement patio dries and they feel the evaporative effects as their clothes dry in the sunshine. All of this provides a gateway for talking about the water cycle.


But most of all, everybody has fun. We all get wet and cooled off. And we’ve all spent some time outdoors in the sunshine.



What is your favorite type of outdoor water play? What do you do to cool off when the summer days are hot?

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