The Olympics is just around the corner, and my family is getting excited for all of the Summer Games to come. The Olympics also offers lots of teachable moments for families with young children. Some you plan, and some, well, just seem to create themselves out of cardboard and crayons!
My younger son, like many boys his age, is super into mini-figures and "little guys" We stumbled upon some Playmobil Sports Action toys that appear to have been designed to capture the spirit of the Olympic games. Since bribery seems to be the only way I can get my kids to do their summer workbooks, these little toys came at just the right price point to 'earn' and collect in the weeks leading up to the Games.
From there, the Olympics in our front hall was born. My five-year-old found a sheet of coroplast (cardboard would work just as well), and began to design his own Olympic stadium. All he needed was crayons and imagination.
As he started his design, it was a great way to talk about the Olympic Rings, the five colours, and what they represent (yep, had to look that one up!). After a few Olympic ring designs, he sectioned off the 'stadium' into different areas.
We've got the gymastics mats:
The rifle range (did you know there are 9 'shooting' events at the Summer Games?):
The tennis courts:
We've got a bike trail, and room to expand, as he earns more 'guys' and learns about more sports!
It was fun for him to draw the courts, arenas, and, of course, set up the Lego mini-fig 'cheerers'—and great for us to talk about all the different sports he was looking forward to watching. Now it's time to bring out the globe and map, and start learning about the different countries and their flags!
Go Canada Go!
Summer often brings heat waves in parts of the country, and we can't keep the kids holed up inside too long!
If you're not blessed with your own swimming pool (or a friendly neighbour's), there are still lots of ways to keep cool and incorporate water into your kids' playtime this summer!
Make your own sensory water tables
It's amazing how even a few inches of water can be so engaging for children. Mix it up by creating sensory bins filled with water and different objects. Kids can try the 'sink or float?' experiment with their favourite (waterproof) toys, or with things they find in the garden (rocks and leaves).
Have a car wash or trike wash playdate
The car wash playdate is a momstown tradition and it's easy to replicate in your own backyard! You just need a hose or a bucket filled with water, lots of sponges, a bit of dish soap, and you can make bubbles galore and 'clean up' those trikes, bikes and maybe a nearby car or two (with mom or dad's help of course!). Get out the dinky cars and give them a good cleaning too. With your kids ready to get wet in swimwear, you can cool them down with a sponge or hose bath of their own!
Paint with water
Pick a fence, or a driveway, or a sidewalk, and get painting with water! Fill buckets with water and grab the brushes of any size. Kids love the transformation of colour from light to dark and really feel like they are 'painting' the fence (Tom Sawyer-style!). And best of all, no paint mess to clean up!
Take a field trip
If you've got a local beach or splashpad—it's a great time to grab some friends and take a local field trip—bring a picnic and make it a day out. Make sure to bring shade for little ones and lots of water and sunscreen. And don't forget your own swimwear—those splashpads can be tons of fun for adults too!
Set up your own water Olympics
No pool required!
Shot Put: Use water balloons and see who can throw the farthest
Biathlon: Set up a chalk targets on the fence and use water guns for target practice
Cooperative circle games like "Drip, Drip, Drop" are great for a playdate!
These great 'beat the heat' ideas were brought to you by momstown chapters across Canada.
How do you stay cool in the heat? We'd love to hear your water play ideas for kids!