Nobody likes hot, grumpy kids, even their mums. So keep them cool and chilled out with some brilliant water activities. The great thing about these five activities is that you can do them whether you have a massive garden or a teeny tiny one (like me) and they are free and require very little prep. You’re welcome.
*Please remember – never leave children and water unattended*
1. Water balloon pinatas
Get some balloons. Fill them up with water. Hang them on the washing line or pergola (should you have such a thing) with bits of string and let the kids whack them, slap them, squeeze them and pull them until they squirt or burst. Amazing fun. Find more details on this activity here
*Please take care with strings and young children – supervision needed*
2. A pan of water
Seriously. Just get a big old pan – the biggest you’ve got. Fill it with water. Chuck in a few kids’ paintbrushes, some medicine syringes, a spoon, a cup, some ice cubes, a few filled up water balloons, put it in a shady spot and let them play. They can do pavement painting, squirt water from the syringes, ladle water into the cup, stand in it, tip it over and make puddles. Whatevs. It’ll keep them occupied and cool.
3. Sports bottles
Everybody loves a sprinkler. But not everybody has one. But you can easily get your hands on a drinks bottle with a sports cap – you might have some at home, or you might have to pay out 90p for a bottle of Evian at the corner shop. The kids run about, merrily shrieking while you squirt them with cool water. They LOVE it. You can do this one at the park too, and if you have more than one bottle you can squirt them both together and make arcs in the air.
4. Ice explorers
This takes a little bit of forethought but costs zero pence. Get a plastic tub out of the cupboard. Put a few small plastic toys in it. Fill with water. Cover. Freeze. Do them the night before, or first thing in the morning for the afternoon. When your little explorers are ready, then simply pop the ice blocks out onto a table or tuff tray, give the kids a cup of water, and something to scrape with and they can start freeing those toys! Find more details on this activity here
5. Paddling balls
I’m not sure that kids ever get bored of being in paddling pools, but if they do, you can jazz it up a little by lobbing in a load of plastic ball pool balls. It costs about £5 for 200 of them. They’re a pain in the arse to pick up afterwards but balls + paddling pool = fun.
About Alison McGarragh-Murphy
Alison is the Editor of The Motherload®, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for four and a half years.