Tag Archives: water fun

Floating Flowers… Fun for Pools, Baths, & Sensory Bins

Floating Flowers for Water PlayWhen we went to pick up a pool noodle for Gracen’s marble run water slide, she originally fell in love with a flower-shaped noodle.  While I knew it wouldn’t be the best fit for our marble run, at $1.25, I knew we would eventually figure out a way to put it to good use.  

IMG 0351It was my first time seeing this sort of pool noodle, and all I knew was that I wanted to slice it up to create tons of little individual flower shapes.  

IMG 0349So that’s just what I did.  Just like when slicing a pool noodle in half vertically, I found that using a sharp, serrated knife and a sawing motion worked best.  I sliced ours about an inch thick, but you could do them any thickness you like – even varying thicknesses would be fun!

IMG 0353As I chopped, Miss G ran the ready flowers over to her blow up pool and tossed them in!  

IMG 0375It’s such a simple thing, but they looked so pretty and inviting dancing around on the water’s surface.  (I’m already picturing them in bath tubs and sensory bins too!)

IMG 0367I think Miss G agreed, because she immediately jumped in {despite the freezing cold water} and started splashing around like mad!

IMG 0361When the splashing had subsided a little bit, Grandma Charlotte showed Grae how the flowers could be used as building blocks.  

IMG 0458It’s definitely easier in still-ish water, but it’s equally fun when in or out of the pool.  Towers can be built…

IMG 0460Pyramids can be built…

IMG 0466And ‘trains’ can be built too!  Of course, the possibilities are really endless when it comes to building structures – even when they’re floating ones. 

IMG 0358Now the only question is how I’m going to convince Brad that heaps of pool noodle flowers are a Kuwait necessity…  I mean with the heat and the amount of time we spend in and around water there, they are, aren’t they? ☺ 

Building Structures With Floating Flowers | Mama Papa Bubba

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{Simple Fun} Sink Play

Simple Fun Sink Play | Mama Papa BubbaI forgot how trying and time consuming this whole Kuwait documentation process is… We’re currently in the throws of police clearances, medical tests,  notarizations, and phone calls, which isn’t all that fun.  Add in a very busy, wanting-to-be-on-the-go toddler, and it’s that much more difficult.   Today, between Embassy calls and trips to the police station and medical lab, I pulled out one of my favourite tried and true ways to keep Miss G happily engaged while we got a few things done – a sink full of water.  It’s a super simple invitation to play and is a hit every single time.  Today it involved a couple of drops of blue/green food colouring, a couple of rocks, some glass gems, and a bowl of plastic creepy crawlies.  That’s it.  We set it up together, she pulled her little Ikea stool up to the bathroom sink, and the play began.  

IMG 0262The best part is that it’s not at all limited to a bug swamp.  In fact, the possibilities are endless!  Here are a few of our favourite sink play ideas…

1.  Baby bath – Grab a plastic doll, a wash cloth and/or sponge, some watered down shampoo or bubble bath,and a small towel and the baby doll will be cleaner than ever.  For extra fun, add in a toothbrush and hairbrush for when bath time is done.

2. Ocean – Add a couple of drops of blue food colouring to the water, then add some rocks, seashells, driftwood pieces and plastic ocean creatures.  Instant fun!

3. Floating building station – Place several pool noodle pieces (sliced about an inch thick) in the sink and let your little one experiment with building floating structures – towers, pyramids, ‘trains’ – anything goes!

♥ 

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Marble Run Water Slide

Marble Run Water Slide | Mama Papa BubbaIMG 9866When I found this huge jar of marbles sitting in the closet of Brad’s childhood bedroom, I knew they had to be used for something fun.  I immediately thought of these two posts and knew that Miss G would love exploring a marble run.

IMG 9951While Grandma Charlotte’s pool noodles didn’t have holes down the centres and every shop in the village she lives in appeared to be anxiously waiting the same pool noodle shipment, my hometown not far away had pool noodles aplenty!  In fact, one of the local dollar stores had huge bins full for $1.25 a piece!  With a pool noodle in hand, I began building our marble run during G’s nap.  The first step was saw the noodle in half vertically with a serrated knife.  Slow and steady was the key to this one.

IMG 9952It was a bit tricky to cut perfectly down the centre of the noodle the entire time, but it really doesn’t have to be perfect.

Building a Marble Run Water SlideNext up, I inserted several toothpicks along the side of one of the noodle halves, then carefully connected the other half.

IMG 9970IMG 9955With the main structure built and plenty of nap time to spare, I decided to focus on the details.  While I’m sure the usual race track theme would have gone over wonderfully, I decided to switch things up a little and gear the activity to one of Gracen’s recent interests… water slides!  Using some bamboo skewers I shortened a little, I threw together a ‘WATER SLIDE’ sign and a few buntings and stuck them onto the slide structure.  Then I propped the top of the slide up on a couple of vintage apple crates and put a small bin filled with sparkly blue water at the bottom.  Gracen was delighted to wake up from her nap and see it!

IMG 9957IMG 9960The activity really needed no explanation.  She recruited Grandma Charlotte, they each selected a marble, and on ‘ready, set, go!’ they released them.

IMG 9962It was a close one!

IMG 9986I kind of wondered if she’d always want someone playing with her during this activity, but that wasn’t the case.  She just as happily played on her own.

IMG 9968And after doing several races, things got a little creative…  She tried putting multiple marbles in a track before releasing them, raced small marbles against large marbles, and tried sending Nerfuls down too.

IMG 9991Our little pool noodle water slide has already brought a ton of fun and I can’t wait for us experiment with it some more in the coming weeks… I’m thinking ping pong balls would be neat because they’d float in the pool at the bottom and maybe we’ll try racing water itself?

♥ 

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Cork Sail Boats {With Sparkly Sails}

Cork Sailboats With Sparkly Sails | Mama Papa BubbaOh my goodness.  Miss G and I had so much fun with this little project this afternoon.  The best part is that it was completely impromptu. She wanted ‘to craft’ as she always says, and when digging through our craft supply drawer, came across a little bag of corks we scored at our last trip to Urban Source.  I had boat building in mind ever since we picked them out, and when I suggested it to her, she was fully game.  Together, we did a little Pinterest search, and Grae selected the images from these three posts for inspiration.  

IMG 9388With an idea in mind, it was time to gather up some materials.  The corks were a given, the elastics would hold the actual boat together, the toothpicks or dowels would hold up our sails (we went with the mini dowels in the end), and the nail would help us poke our holes.  The last thing we needed was something to make our sails out of…  We thought of patterned scrapbook paper, but knew that would eventually just get wet.  We also thought of the plastic sheets we used to make our window clings, but Grae wasn’t overly excited about the colours we had left.  Then we thought of foam sheets – being waterproof and super lightweight, they’d be perfect.  And even more perfect? Finding sparkly ones!  Gracen was sold.

IMG 9391To get started, Gracen lined up 3 corks and held them together while I secured them with 2 thick elastic bands – one on each side.

IMG 9392Then, using our nail and “our big, big muscles” in the words of Grae, we created a little hole in the very centre of the cork wharf.

IMG 9394Together we pushed our mini wooden dowel down into the hole (a food pick or bamboo skewer could work too).

IMG 9397Using another mini dowel for reference, sketched a quick sail outline on the back of our sparkly foam.

IMG 9398Because our foam was of the adhesive variety, we made our sail double-sided, but this would be unnecessary if we had just regular foam sheets.

IMG 9399After making a couple of teeny little slits in our sail, one at the top and one at the bottom, we slid it onto our dowel post.

Cork Boat FlagThe finishing touch was adding a little flag above our sail.  To do this, Gracen selected a roll of washi tape and folded a piece in half around the top of our dowel.  Then I cut it to form a flag shape.

IMG 9404With our first boat complete, it was time for the big moment – to see whether or not it would float.  It did!

IMG 9406And this little lady was very pleased about that.

IMG 9414We made one more boat, and the play begun immediately.  Bobbing, blowing, and swooshing ensued throughout the afternoon and I’m sure it’ll continue for the next several days.  

And while the boats have been fun in a bowl of water, I have a couple of other ideas to make them even more fun to play with.  Now where to find more corks…

♥ 

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Simple Outdoor Fun: Painting Sidewalk Chalk Shapes With Water

Painting Sidewalk Chalk Shapes With Water | Mama Papa BubbaWhile we’ve done plenty of regular mess-free painting on our sidewalks and fence, today Gracen asked if I’d draw her something to paint.  While maybe not as open-ended as I’d usually aim for, I do find that sometimes she prefers having a jumping off point, so I drew an assortment of shapes on the ground using sidewalk chalk.  The activity was actually perfect for her new found interest of colouring in the lines, and when the water dried, it left our cement pad covered in beautiful, watercolour-esque shapes.  So simple, but she enjoyed so much that she’s already asked to do it again.

♥ 

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An Afternoon of Indoor Fishing

Indoor Fishing Pond | Mama Papa BubbaIMG 8890This afternoon while walking along the river, Gracen noticed a man sitting down on the rocks fishing and was fascinated.  The questions started rolling in and once we’d lost sight of him, all she wanted to know was when we’d see him again.  Luckily, on our way back we found him just where we’d left him.  Phew.  

With a new interest in fishing and a stick worthy of taking home found along the way, this post from Mini-Eco immediately came to mind.  I asked Miss G if she was interested in doing some indoor fishing when we got home, and she was more than game.

IMG 8881Grae and I rounded up a few things…  Some plasticky sheets purchased on our last trip to Urban Source, a hole punch, and a handful of paperclips.

IMG 8882I cut out the fish shapes, and Grae helped punch holes and feed the paper clips through.

IMG 8887Next, Grae chose some baker’s twine from my collection.  We tied one end to her beloved stick, and used a dab of hot glue to attach the other end to a round magnet (though if you had a u-shaped magnet, you could just tie it on).

IMG 8886Next, we got out a big bowl, filled it with water, added a drop of blue food colouring just for fun.  Gently, we set the fish on the surface of the water.

IMG 8898Then it was time to fish!

IMG 8891Gracen held her rod steady, gently lowered into the bowl overtop of the fish of her choosing, and proudly lifted up fish after fish. 

IMG 8900She was pretty pleased with herself.

IMG 8917And after a whole lot of fishing, some messy water play was inevitable. ☺

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Duck Pond Sensory Bin

Duck Pond Sensory Bin | Mama Papa BubbaOn the way home with a photo shoot with Amy of The Connection We Share (photos to come soon!) today, Gracen asked if we could build a duck pond.  I’m not sure where how or why this request came about, but I was as game as she was.

IMG 7960It’s been a while since we’ve put together a new sensory bin and what I loved this time around was that instead of me putting something together for her to explore and investigate, we created this one together.  Very similar to a frog pond sensory bin we’ve played with before, this one included glass beads in blues and greens, rocks, driftwood, some flowered branches from the yard, and a couple of toy ducks we already had on hand.

IMG 7962In order to make it outdoor-friendly, the pond’s water was nice and warm.

IMG 7970So warm apparently that Miss G didn’t mind getting her entire body soaking wet.

IMG 7966Grae played for a little while before moving onto more exciting things with Grandma Charlotte, but I know she’ll get lots more play out of it once the excitement level gets back to normal around here.

You can see Gracen’s oceanicerainbow rice, beach, watergardeningmoon doughconstructionand bird-themed bins by clicking on the links.

♥ 

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Animal Sink Bath

IMG 4828Since returning home from a long vacation 2 weeks ago, playing independently has been  a lot more difficult for Grae.  Instead of playing on her own, she wants to be right beside Mama {if not right on top of me} all. of. the. time.  When I explain that I need a little bit of personal space to get something done or encourage her to play, she responds with, “But Mama is the best…” or “But I just want to watch what you’re doing” or “But I LOOOOVE you!”  Oy.  It’s not easy.  

The one time she seems to be happy to play on her own right now is while I make dinner (thank goodness for that).  She often does puzzles, reads, or plays dress up, but tonight she set up one of her long time favourite games…  A sink bath for her animal friends.  She pulls up a stool, collects her sea creatures (sometimes it’s a baby or rubber ducks), and grabs a wash cloth while I fill up the sink with warm water, get out a squirt bottle or a sponge, and retrieve some soap or a little chunk of FUN.  Together we add a drop or two of food colouring to the water, and that’s it.  She plays and splashes and washes her animals in there for a good long time, and by the time she’s done, I usually have dinner on the table.  

A sink full of water… Who knew?  Works like magic every time.

♥ 

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Water Pouring Station

Water Pouring Station

After our most recent tea party with a pot filled with “tea”, I realized that I haven’t really given Gracen many opportunities to practice her pouring skills (with the exception of cooking and sensory bin/bath tub play, I guess).  So tonight, just before I began making dinner, I set up a little water pouring station for her.  All it took was a towel on the floor, a plastic serving tray, some measuring cups/jars/pitchers, and some coloured water. Gracen was thrilled, of course.

IMG 1030IMG 1032IMG 1034IMG 1035IMG 1036
IMG 1039IMG 1040IMG 1043IMG 1046IMG 1048She transferred water from one container to another, watching the colours change and muddle for the better part of an hour, which was the perfect amount of time for me to prep dinner, clean the kitchen and wash a big load of dishes. Doesn’t get much better than that. Afterwards, clean up was a breeze.  The towel went into the wash, the dishes got rinsed, and that was that… Another ‘Mama needs to make dinner’ activity to add to my {mental} list. ☺

If you don’t feel comfortable letting your little one handle glass jars and measuring cups, you could always replace them with plastic ones instead.  Switching out the water for dry goods like lentils, beans, and popping corn would be fun too!


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Water Bead Sensory Bin

Okay, so I know that we are very likely the last ever play-lovin’ people to jump aboard the water bead train, but we’ve finally done it.  And they’re awesome. 

The truth is, while I’ve known that they could be purchased online, I was hoping to just ‘bump’ into them one day while doing some shopping.  I know this is ridiculous, but I’ve had my eyes peeled for months while at children’s stores and teaching stores, but of course I’ve had no luck finding them in those places… Am I the only person on the face of the planet that did not know what water beads were actually intended for?!  Here I was, thinking that they were some sort of revolutionary sensory-based material designed especially for play, when they are actually intended for using in flower vases and readily available at florists and in the floral sections of craft and dollar stores.  Duh!  My bad… 

That is until we were picking up a couple of lily-esque flowers for a pond sensory bin in our local dollar store the other day…  Sure enough, there they were.  Squishy, shiny, smooth marbles packed in small containers of water.  Non-toxic and environmentally safe.  Score!  I may have been a little overly excited given the situation… But hey, what can I say?

IMG 9732We first used them during our recent messy play date and today we took them outside again as part of a simple sensory bin.  Miss G requested the water beads be in pink water, so pink water it was.  We gathered up a few kitchen goodies (a slotted spoon is a must) and headed outside.

IMG 9734The coolest thing is that because these particular beads are clear, they’re nearly invisible when in water (especially in non-coloured water).

IMG 9736Then you put your hands in the bin expecting just water and discover a squishy, slippery surprise.  (Of course, Gracen already knew what to expect, but apparently it still felt wonderful enough to get elbow deep in the bin.)

IMG 9740IMG 9742Catching them while in water can be a little tricky, but it’s a big part of the fun.

IMG 9753IMG 9749That’s where a slotted spoon comes in handy (especially one of this size).  Grae quickly realized how much easier it made collecting her bouncy water beads and got to work filling up her tray.

IMG 9749IMG 9750Of course, what fun is a sensory bin without squishing your toes in it?

IMG 9763A few things to keep in mind about water beads…  Firstly, though they’re non-toxic, biodegradable, and environmentally safe, they {obviously} should not be ingested.  Also, from what I’ve read, they clog drains quite badly, so if you set up a water bead station in your bath tub or sink, be sure to use one of those mesh drain inserts to make sure none of them slip down into your pipes.  Lastly, they will dehydrate over time if left out of water.  Either store them in a sealed container with a little bit of water, or if they do dry out, simply soak them in water for 8 to 12 hours to rehydrate them.

IMG 9759I have a feeling there’s a lot of water bead fun in our future…  Brad and I picked up several packages of the dehydrated kind while on a little date night to the Summer Night Market last week, so we’ve got a stock pile of red, purple, pink, aqua, and multicoloured ones ready to go.  I’ve already got a million ways to use them floating around in my head… How fun would setting up a bubble tea station be? Or putting them into a big container of thick shaving foam? What about mixing them up with glow sticks and playing with them in the dark or creating a Halloween sensory bin filled with water beads, slime, and creepy crawlies?  I feel a Pinterest visit coming on very soon… ☺

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