Going outside to play on a playground or participate in games and sports is a part of most preschool curricula. For hot summer days, preschool teachers might consider planning splash days in which children can participate in water-based activities. Splash day activities cool children off, but they can also provide opportunities for learning.
Preschool children love to spend time scooping, pouring and playing in the water. These activities can be incorporated in learning in areas of science, social skills and language development. Provide a water table where children can stand and play and even get a little wet. With water-safe toys, have children experiment to see what items sink or float. If the classroom is not equipped with an actual water table, simply use a large shallow plastic storage container set on a low table.
As the day warms up and children are ready to get wet, start up a sprinkler. This alternative is safer than a pool with small children. Some children immediately love frolicking in the sprinkler water while others may need some coaxing. Play a game such as follow the leader through the sprinkler to keep the kids focused.
Water Balloon Toss
Three- and four-year-old children are just starting to learn how to throw and catch a ball. While water balloons are a little more challenging to catch, some of the fun is when a child misses and the balloon hits the ground and pops. Pair children up and provide a bucket of water balloons for kids to throw back and forth with a partner.
Slippery Water Slide
Retail stores offer small water slides that can be set up on a grassy incline so children can run and slide down the wet plastic. For a slide that accommodates more children at once, purchase a smooth tarp and wet it down with a water hose. Keep running the water to keep it saturated while children slide. If the wet tarp is not slippery enough, add some liquid baby soap.
Water Relay Races
Divide preschoolers into two teams for some relay races using water. Place a bucket filled with water and a large sponge where the child are lined up. About 50 feet away place an empty bucket with a line drawn several inches up from the bottom. Children must take turns running to the empty bucket with the sponge, squeezing out the water, and returning to hand it off to the next person in line. The team that fills their bucket to the line first wins.
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