Tuesday 6 November 2012


Back in the Spring it was announced that half the country was suffering a drought. Several water companies imposed hose-pipe bans and the experts declared that even above-average rainfall would not change the situation until Christmas at the earliest.
I had approximately 2 days of worrying about how I would entertain the kids for the whole summer under such conditions. Then, of course, the rain started. The "Wettest Summer on Record for 100 years."
Guess what? Within a couple of weeks we were no longer in drought conditions. We still didn't use the hose as much as usual- because the weather was generally too wet, but I truly couldn't imagine a summer without it.

The joy of taps!

Kids love water. We inherited a bidet in our house when we moved in, and both our boys mastered turning on the bidet tap even before they could stand unsupported. Their favourite trick was to turn it on hard and then put their hands against the flow so it sprayed in all directions. Hilarious (if you're small.) Needless to say, after a couple of bathroom flooding sessions we had to tie the tap handle down so they couldn't turn it on at will, but the love affair with running water had well and truly begun.
Outside tap= unlimited fun.
They both had several years of believing that life was near-perfect when they were allowed to stand on a stool at the kitchen sink with the taps on- if only we could all remember this joy as adults, the washing up would seem like such a treat!

Zac sharing his bath with "White Duck"
In the garden, the ways of enjoying the wet stuff seem endless. We've been through numerous paddling pools since the original- a plastic baby bath. Generally I've found they take quite a long time, and a lot of water, to fill; and a very short amount of time for one or other of the boys to empty out onto the grass, so often a smaller tub is just as enjoyable and slightly less wasteful.

Tip out the toys, fill with water and enjoy!

Of course a tub of water provides plenty of opportunities to explore things that float and sink, and you can wash the garden toys whilst you experiment.
Pouring water from one container to another also fascinates small children, they are subconsciously noticing that containers hold different amounts and discovering that liquids change shape to fit the container they're in, great for fostering early scientific curiosity.

I liked this idea for a hot day. Put a cheap toy in a margarine tub, fill the tub with water, then put it in the freezer overnight. Next day, challenge the kids to rescue the toy from the iceberg! Science and problem-solving in one. Mine tried bashing it and dropping it for ages before deciding that the only way was to melt the ice. (It's a good idea to wet the ice when you first tip it out so it doesn't stick to your skin.)

The Hose. Hmmmmmmm. They love it of course, but it does come with problems. If  you have more than one child, the one holding the hose is completely compelled to spray the other, whether they like it or not. There will always be a battle to get them to hand over the hose when it's the other one's turn, and they will both scream when you say it's time to turn it off. That said, when it's fun it's great fun so you have to accept the bad bits. I tried to give them finite hosing jobs, like filling up the paddling pool or watering all the plants in pots, so that when the job was done I could say it was time to turn off, but of course, they do the job for about 2 minutes and then revert to hose wars.
Log waterfalls.
Making a stream.
We  did discover some good hose pipe games- making rivers down bits of pipe and gutter and letting leaves go white-water-rafting was one favourite.
Putting the end of the hose on the top of a log and trapping it under a rock so that it made a waterfall down the sides of the log was another.

Making rainbows with a plant spray bottle.
Water pistols or cheap plant spray bottles allow for a good water fight without anyone getting quite as soaked as you do with a hose, plus everyone can then be armed at the same time. I discovered that since you can adjust the spray on one of those plant spray bottles, I could give the boys one that came out as a mist and make mine spray a single stream so I could always get them before they could get me, which kept them a good distance away! The boys also liked to squirt patterns on the path and watch them disappear as they dried, and if you put them onto a fine spray setting you can see rainbows in the mist on a sunny day.

 All water play comes with a health and safety warning- never leave kids alone with it, but I'd like to add the opposite- don't get too close when they're in control of the water supply! It is very difficult to disarm a child with a hose- NEVER let them get between you and the tap or you're sunk!
Water- it's all good clean fun!


  1. What a really great post - and lots of fun. I love the photo in the tubs the best.
    Thank you for sharing with Motivational Monday

    1. Thank you! They were sitting in tubs of water in the sunshine yesterday, even tho they're quite a bit bigger now!

  2. Love this post! some ideas there that I have not tried with mine, so will have to give it a go, they love water play but we don't even have a hose at the moment (keeping trying to fill paddling pools by filling baby bathfulls and pouring in the main pool - bit of a pain!!!)

    the pic of the tubs where one of them is splashing all the water is soo lovely!

    i am over from country kids. dont know if i have seen your blog before? so hello!

    1. Hello! I love all the posts on Country Kids, it's so nice to see lots of kids having fun outside when the media makes us feel like they're a generation growing up in front of the telly.

  3. Some fab photos of the boys and their water play! It's true whatever form they do love to play with water and it's also great for their creative play and development. Thanks for coming over and sharing your fun water play with Country Kids.

    1. Thank you! This weekend most of the water play revolved around washing the vehicles- brilliant!

  4. Wow water can create hours of fun - I love the photo of the both of them in the tubs - too cute. Great post and I love all the water ideas :)
    Just stopping over from country kids

    Laura x