Water activities, most importantly those related to the pool go hand in hand with summer. Here are some water activities that can take place in the back yard with or without a pool that are sure to keep the little ones entertained!
1. Water Tables- Set sand buckets and plastic dishes in the kids’ wagon for an instant water play station. Or dig up a big flat plastic tub—the kind used for mixing paint, storing sweaters, etc. Fill it with water wheels, boats, bath toys and water. Just be sure never to leave kids unsupervised—even 1 inch of water is a drowning hazard.
2. Water Balloon Obstacle Course- All you need to buy is a pack of water balloons. You can build the course using things you have around the house, yard or garage. Then have the kids walk along the garden hose, crawl under lawn chairs and run through a sprinkler … all while holding a bulging balloon. The first to finish with an intact balloon wins!
3. DIY Slip and Slide- Just grab a big plastic tarp or plastic shower curtain, slather it in shampoo, and place it on a soft lawn. Set a running hose at the top of the slide and let the kids go at it.
4. Capture The Flag With Water Guns- Designate two home bases, get two waterproof items to serve as flags (bright plastic balls work well) and hand out one nonthreatening water gun per kid. Divide into two teams that attempt to capture the other team’s “flag” while remaining dry.
5. Jump Rope In The Sprinkler- Have your elementary school big kids throw on their swimsuits, switch on the sprinkler and set up a big jump rope that the kids turn through the spray. For extra goofiness, let the kids wear their swim goggles while they jump.
Even with these fun backyard games or pool activities, it is important to remember water safety. According to the CDC, drowning leads to more deaths among young children aged 1 to 4 than any other cause except birth defects. About half of these deadly incidents in young children took place at swimming pools.
The researchers suggest that taking swimming lessons while young can teach life-saving skills to help prevent drownings and water-related injuries. Wearing life jackets, installing four-sided pool fencing, and giving bystander CPR can also help lessen the number of lives lost or injuries.
Don’t assume that a child who knows how to swim isn’t at risk for drowning. All kids need to be supervised in the water, no matter what their swimming skill levels. Infants, toddlers, and weak swimmers should have an adult swimmer within arm’s reach to provide “touch supervision.”
For the little ones who still have trouble swimming make sure that they are equipped with floatation equipment such as tubes or arm puffs so that they can assist them in staying on top of the water.
As always, the most important tip is to never let children be alone around water. Even 1 inch of water can cause a child to drown.