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It’s hot where I live. I mean, really hot. Like regular heat advisories and almost every summer day topping 100° hot. So we’re always on the lookout for fun outdoor activities that involve water or can be done in the shade.
For this activity, we used squirt wands. I have this goal of ‘no toys that look like weapons,’ so I was excited when I found a “squirt gun” that wasn’t shaped like a gun.
The squirt wands are also much better for fine motor skill practice. My son had to learn how to pipette, an important science skill and with such a HUGE pipette, a perfect fine and gross motor skill building activity.
Squirt Wand Science Class
We’ve played with these in the traditional way, just running around and squirting each other, but this day I wanted to try something new. Squirt Wand Science Class!
When my son asked if we could play with the squirt wands, I asked him if he wanted to water the lawn and the plants with me. He was really excited to try something new! We talked about how plants and grass get thirsty, and how when there’s no rain, we have to give them some water to drink. While playing, we also talked about the other things plants need to survive.
While we played and talked, my son practiced controlling where he sprayed water. With squirt wands, the water doesn’t come out in a steady stream. You can control the distance it goes, the amount of water that comes out, and whether it’s a long stream or a squirt. It all depends on the speed you use and how you hold it. This was awesome practice for my son.
He would yell, “I want to water that tree!” or “I want to squirt all the way to the street!” and then have to use trial and error to test how to make the water move the way he wanted it to. Then he had to remember exactly how he had moved his muscles the time before so he could repeat it in the future. I could see the wheels spinning as he tried to master the squirt wand.
He also began experimenting with OTHER ways to manipulate the water. What happens if you spray the water at the side of the house? What’s different about water sprayed on cement versus in the dirt? What happens if you spray the water directly above you? (That last one had a shocking outcome!)
Overall, we had a ton of fun with this (shaded) outdoor activity. My son can’t wait to do it again. I also loved how he even got a touch of social and emotional learning in through talking about the importance of caring for plants and the environment. What an easy way to add in some empathy building!
What kind of outdoor play does your family do when it’s just too hot to be out in the direct sunlight? Comment and let me know!