Day Camp at Home Week 7: Splish, Splash

Welcome to the seventh week of Active for Life Day Camp at Home! Every week until Aug. 24, we’ll provide you with activities, crafts, and book recommendations for you and your kids to do at home. Here you’ll find a variety of games and activity ideas, using little to no equipment and materials, that will keep your children active, engaged, and having fun!

Welcome to Week 7: Splish, Splash!

This week, we’ll be sharing lots of water-themed games and activities for your child to play on their own and with a caregiver, along with arts and crafts projects, book suggestions, and some bonus activities.

You decide how you want to use these activities: pick one thing to do each day of the week, plan a full day of fun, or just scan through for inspiration and do what sounds fun to you! 

Here’s what we’ve got for this week:

Other weeks

Week 1: Animal Planet
Week 2: Music Makers
Week 3: Exploration
Week 4: Olympic Games
Week 5: Going Green
Week 6: Under the Sea
Week 8: Where the Wild Things Are

  • Independent play: Create a chalk and water masterpiece, adventure into the Ice Age, and cool down with a pool noodle sprinkler.
  • Arts & crafts: Build a water waves bottle and craft an amazing water gun painting.
  • Active family fun: Build and Destroy using some water balloons and strike up a friendly game of water balloon volleyball.
  • Quiet time: Splish, splash your way through water-play themed books during quiet time. (Don’t forget your water waves bottle!)

Independent play

Being able to play in the water is one of the best things about summer! Whether you’re making your own water table or getting outside in the summer sun, water play is a fun way to keep kids engaged and cool in the summer.

Activity: Chalk & Water Painting

What you’ll need: 

  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Container of water
  • Paintbrushes/sponges

How to play: 

  1. Colour a piece of sidewalk or patio paver with sidewalk chalk.
  2. Dip paintbrushes/sponges in water and gently run them over the sidewalk chalk for an amazing watercolour effect.
  3. Keep individual sidewalk chalks dipped in small containers of water to try out wet sidewalk chalk drawing that looks like pastels.

How to make it easier:

  • Choose bigger paintbrushes (house-painting brushes are a great alternative!)
  • Give your child some ideas on what to paint and let them get creative!

How to increase the challenge:

  • Have your child use the paints to create a giant game of checkers or Snakes and Ladders (you can use stones as the playing pieces!)
  • Build a Super Chalk Walk. Begin by drawing a starting line and then fill in challenges that walkers must complete as they move along like tornado spins, jumping patterns, and hopping on one foot.

Keep the fun going:

  • Get moving with more active games using chalk.
  • Want to make your own “sidewalk paint?” Mix 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. of cornstarch in a small container along with 1/4 cup of cold water. Whisk the cornstarch until completely dissolved. Add a couple of drops of food colouring and stir well.

Activity: Ice Age

What you’ll need: 

  • Large container or dishpan
  • Water
  • Small toys (dinosaur figurines, toy cars, buttons, etc.)
  • “Excavation tools” (spoons, water with some salt added, plastic syringes, etc.)

How to play:

  1. Fill the container with water and add small toys.
  2. Put the container in the freezer until the water is completely frozen.
  3. Have your child use their excavation tools to discover all the treasures hidden in the ice.

How to make it easier:

  • Have children choose items to freeze in the container so they have an idea ahead of time of what they’re looking for.
  • Choose a smaller or shallower container.

How to increase the challenge:

  • Freeze a variety of toys in the ice and provide clues for your child to find only certain items.
  • Have your child brainstorm and collect tools they think might help them excavate.

Activity: Pool Noodle Sprinkler

What you’ll need:

  • Pool noodle (available at most dollar stores)
  • Hose attached to water source
  • Duct tape

How to play:

  1. Poke some holes in the pool noodle—about one every 10 cm.
  2. Attach the pool noodle to the hose with duct tape.
  3. Put the pool noodle sprinkler on the ground or hang it from a tree.
  4. Turn on the water and have a blast!

Arts & crafts

Craft: Water Waves Bottle

Materials:

  • Small clear pop bottle or pasta sauce container
  • Vinegar
  • Baby oil
  • Food colouring
  • Small seashells (optional)
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Hot glue gun (optional)
  • One Alka-Seltzer tablet (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Fill the bottle with 1/3 vinegar.
  2. Add a couple of drops of food colouring (blue works great if you would like to keep it water-themed).
  3. Add seashells and/or glitter (optional).
  4. Fill the remainder of the bottle with baby oil.
  5. Add one Alka-Seltzer tablet to create a lava lamp effect (optional).
  6. Tightly screw the lid on (or hot glue it shut).
  7. Move the bottle from side to side or shake it to create fun waves.

Water wave bottles are a great tool to use for sensory exploration and as a calming tool. You can encourage your child to find a quiet space to use their water wave bottle when they’re feeling overwhelmed or want to take a minute to relax.

Keep the fun going:

  • Make different themed water wave bottles by adding dinosaurs, sea creatures, or even colourful beads.
  • Keep a small water wave bottle in your car (baby food jars work great).
  • Parents and caregivers can make their own water waves bottles. They’re great for helping to keep focused, when working through anxious feelings, or when meditating.

Craft: Water Gun Painting

Materials:

  • Water guns/squirt guns
  • Water
  • Food colouring
  • Paper
  • Tape

Instructions:

  1. Tape paper up on fence, exterior wall or bath tub wall.
  2. Fill water guns with water and a few drops of food colouring.
  3. Have your child squirt the coloured water on the paper and make their own water gun masterpiece!

How to make it easier:

  • Turn this activity into outdoor painting by providing paintbrushes and containers of coloured paint to flick and splash paint on the paper.

How to increase the challenge:

  • Draw the outline of a picture (dinosaur, beach scene, etc.) and have your child use their squirt gun to complete the picture.
  • Use long rolls of paper taped to a fence or wall to create large water gun paintings.

Active family fun

Activity: Build and Destroy

What you’ll need: 

  • Plastic household items (i.e. laundry baskets, toys, etc.)
  • Water balloons
  • Marker (optional)

How to play: 

  1. Build a tower in your backyard using plastic household items.
  2. Fill up water balloons and have a pile for each player.
  3. Have players stand a few metres back (or at the marker).
  4. Players take turns throwing the water balloons to knock over the tower.
  5. The person with the fewest throws to knock down the tower is the winner.

How to make it easier:

  • Move the marker closer to the tower.
  • Choose items that are light/easy to topple so your child is successful.

How to increase the challenge: 

  • Limit the number of balloons per person.
  • Set up two towers and have teams play against each other to try and knock each other’s tower over first.

How to adapt the game for smaller spaces:

  • Play this activity in a bath tub using smaller waterproof items and squirt guns or small water balloons.

Group game: Water Balloon Volleyball

Equipment: 

  • Water balloons
  • Bath towels

How to play: 

  1. Have players get into pairs with each person holding one end of a towel.
  2. Place the water balloon on one of the towels. Use the towel to throw the water balloon towards the other pair’s towel.
  3. The other pair tries to catch the water balloon in their towel and then throws the water balloon back.
  4. If the water balloon breaks, the other team scores a point.

How to make it easier:

  • Use a beachball or other light ball instead of water balloons.
  • Have one person throw the water balloon while the pair works together to try and catch the water balloon.

How to increase the challenge: 

  • Use multiple water balloons or have 3+ sets of pairs playing against one another.
  • Tie a string between two points (chairs, trees, etc.) and drape a tarp or dark-coloured sheet over the string. This will keep players on their toes as they won’t be able to see where or when the water balloon is coming over!

Quiet time

Here are some recommended reads about playing in the water (and links to read-aloud videos on YouTube).

0-3 years: Splish, Splash, Ducky! by Lucy Cousins

3-5 years: Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis

6-8 years: The Crocodile Who Didn’t Like Water by Gemma Merino

9-12 years: The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Bonus activities

We hope you had fun beating the summer heat with these fun water play activities!

Join us next week for Where the Wild Things Are, the final week of our summer series. Get an overview of Day Camp at Home with our printable adventure map. Give it to your child to colour in!

We’d love to hear from you and your child. What was your favourite activity? What did you learn this week? Share in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *