It is summer and we have been trying to keep cool. The best way we have found is to play in water! Since I have 3 boys 5 years old and under (including a baby who mouths and chews everything) I have come up with 9 simple water bins that are baby friendly, only take minutes to put together and require mostly things you can find around your house!
Kitchen utensils. Bowls and spoons for transfer, spoons for splashing and a strainer to make a waterfall. If you have children who enjoy pretend play they may also make you a soup with what they find! Mine made me a bee and rock soup! Yum!
Balls and strainer. Great for fishing the balls out, playing with the balls and straining the water. You can use different types of balls of different materials and see which ones floats and which ones sink.
Soap foam. This one was the biggest hit! It was so simple: some dish soap in water and a couple whisks. Then I whisked it really fast for a while until there was a nice layer of thick soap, you can also use an egg beater (if you can find yours, I'm not sure where mine is). This was used as a pretend world with snow and ice, as a car wash, a foot wash, bubbles to blow... it was the one that kept them playing the most!
You can also add toys and play hide and seek under the foam or hide letters or numbers to add some fun learning to their play. Sponges and paint brushes.
To fill with water and squeeze. To paint around the yard with water. To clean furniture, toys, and more! My boys really enjoyed cleaning everything! The baby loved eating the sponges and even took chunks out... so if you have a baby who mouths everything and has teeth, keep away! Colored ice cubes
. Great sensory play for the little and big ones. I used very few drops of food coloring in the ice trays before placing them in the freezer. If you don’t want the water to look brown at the end I recommend using complementary colors. Also, our ice cubes were small and melted too fast so I recommend freezing full bowls of water, we have done it before and it lasts much longer!
You can also freeze different items in the bowls such as: flowers, orange slices, letters or numbers, toy cars, dinosaurs. You can also add salt, warm water or even hammer to melt and break the ice. Duplos.
These are great for little builders! It’s a slightly different experience from your usual “dry” Duplos and my boys started to build right away and float their boats! Wood toys.
I pulled out all our wooden boats and this made for some simple boat pretend play. Sea animals and shells.
Since birth my middle child has been obsessed by sharks and dolphins. This is his Schleich shark collection. I added them to a water bin and added a couple shells (big enough and strong enough that they would not be a problem for my mouthing baby). This made for great pretend fun and the shells can be use for luring as well. Glow in the dark stars and bracelets.
We did this at night before July 4th with the big guys. This is not for the babies as the bracelets contains toxic chemicals and can be easily broken if they are chewed on. The big boys enjoyed playing with the lights more than the water but it was an interesting combination!
For more fun you can add spray bottles, water beads (for older kids only), shells, letters, nature such as pinecones, branches, rocks... float or sink activities are always a hit too! And there are also water balloons (they make some eco friendly ones now) and sprinklers!
Go to my Instagram page to see the bins in action!