Tag Archives: bubbles

Fun With a Garden Hose

hoseWe’re still in central Florida, and the temperatures have been high!  Last week they were in the mid-90s, but with the humidity, the weatherman said it felt more like 105 degrees. I’d say he was right. 

But this past Saturday, there was a lot going on in the house, so we moved all the young cousins outdoors — yes, even in the afternoon!  The children played on a tire swing tied to a large shade tree in the yard, but the fun didn’t last long. It was just too hot. That is, until we brought out the hose. 

We started by connecting it to a wide, rotating sprinkler that sprayed water overhead. I had suspected my five-year-old would enjoy it, but I was surprised when my two-year-old nephew joined in. Perhaps it was because his cousins were laughing as they were splattered, but he smiled too, even as he was sprayed squarely in the face. 

After about thirty minutes, one of the children picked up a cup and started filling it with water from the sprinkler. I went in to get some more, and soon everyone was filling up their cups and dumping the water on each other. We then pulled out the little wading pool, and soon they were trying to fill it up with the water in their cups. We unhooked the sprinkler and used the water directly from the hose, making the chore go a little faster.

 About thirty more minutes had past when some of the older ones realized it was going to take a lot of cupfuls to get the job done. We then unhooked the sprinkler and put the hose directly in the pool. A little dishsoap, and the pool was soon full of bubbles. They put the bubbles on their heads, their faces, each other. They put bubbles in bowls and stirred them up. They threw bubbles all around the yard. 

Who knew they’d have so much fun? About three hours since we first brought them out, the children were ready for supper, which was served on card tables outside as well. Then they all resumed playing until it was time to get ready for bed. It was a  well-spent afternoon – few quarrels and a good time together. I’m going to give it a try at home too — right after I buy a new hose.

Outside Time

3476198340_db42244b50This week we’ve been spending time with family in Florida. Besides an occasional storm that comes up in the late afternoon, the days have been hot and sunny. With twelve children ages 1 to 15 looking around for things to do, we’ve had to designate the morning hours, which are generally a little cooler, as “outside time.” 

And it’s been a bit of a struggle. Usually, everyone is cooperative for the first thirty minutes or so; after that, they begin to whine and complain and ask to go inside. We’ve brought out scooters, rip sticks, bikes, bubbles, chalk, a hose, and a little wading pool, and still they’re asking to come in. They want to sit inside and watch T.V. and play on the computer. Granted, it’s more comfortable with the air conditioning, but they can come in during the afternoon to take a break and do those things. 

Should we keep enforcing Outside Time? I think so. Besides the fact that it’s a lot of kids with a lot of energy to have running around in only a couple of rooms in the house, it’s important that they learn how to entertain themselves with other things. Even if the outdoor toys are limited, and all that’s available to play with is a few sticks, some dirt, and a rock, chidren need to know how to use their imaginations and make up their own games. 

Often we think of creativity only in terms of the fine arts, but creativity is important in play as well. In fact, that’s where our creative processes begin, and sadly for many children, that’s where it ends as well, as their free time is consumed by television and video games. I’m determined, though, not to allow that to happen to my children. They’ll be glad to know (or maybe they won’t) that once we get home again, I’m instituting a daily “outside time.” I want those creative juices to flow!

What Can I Do?

 file6151244762637About half-way through the summer, when the initial thrill of summertime wears off, my children will come to me and say, “There’s nothing to do!” Now, deep down they know that’s a mistake, because they can always work on schoolwork – practicing their math facts, writing essays, etc. But because I love summer too, I give them a few fun options to choose from:

 1. Read a book by themselves, or read to their little brother.

 2. Make a wordless book. Draw the whole story – no words allowed.

3. Play with play dough. For less than $1 a can (off-brands are even cheaper), it’s an inexpensive way to entertain little ones.

4. Paint their faces (older children can paint their own if they have a mirror). Craft acrylics work well for face paint. Have the children put on old clothes (the paint doesn’t come out of clothing) and give them a couple of colors to choose from. Be sure not to paint around their eyes or mouth.

5.  Play in the sprinkler or hose.

6. Use the hose to make mud pies. Decorate the mud pies with twigs and flowers.

7. Play with bubbles outside. I like to use the large container of bubbles from Wal-Mart and flyswatters. Pour some of the bubbles into a bowl. Give each child a flyswatter to stick into the bubbles. As they wave the flyswatter around, hundreds of tiny bubbles will appear.

8. Make a robot. Use empty boxes, paper towel tubes, and toilet paper tubes. Pull out all of your craft supplies – markers, glue, popsicle sticks, sequins, paper, pom-poms, and see what the kids come up with.

If none of these ideas interest them, they could also:

9. Clean the bathroom.

10. Fold laundry.

11. Sweep outside.

12. Do the dishes.

With these options in the mix, they suddenly find something to do, and the summer fun continues.