There’s nothing my kids love more than to play in the water on a hot day. These fantastic, simple to set up games from Mother Goose Time are a great way to enjoy time playing and learning together this summer! Each of these three games focus on one important aspect of early learning.
- Floating Ducks gets kids counting and experimenting with materials that float.
- Waterfall Splash explores density and gravity.
- Diving for Letters exercises pre-writing skills and let’s kids have some fun with upper and lowercase matching and letter recognition!
The kids learn! They have fun! Best of all it’s homeschooling you can do in a bathing suit!
1. Floating Ducks
- duck counters*
- foam die*
- variety of floating materials (cup, foil, bowl)
- tub of water
- Float materials in the tub of water (fold up sides of the foil to create a boat.)
- Set out the die and duck counters.
- Encourage children to roll the die and identify the number.
- Count out that many ducks and place them on a desired “boat.”
- Continue until one of the “boats” has sunk.
- How many ducks can float on a “boat” without sinking?
- Did the child identify numbers 1-6? Did he/she count that many ducks?
My kids love making boats out of aluminum foil. We experimented with making the boat like a bowl versus flat like a log raft. The kids first were content to roll the dice and place certain amounts of ducks on the boats. Then it became a mission to sink the different boats. Finally, the kids began crafting boats and creating their own stories about what happened to the ducks on board. Some decided to swim and some were thrown overboard. Others were rescued from their sinking ships. The free play was wonderful to watch and the kids were voluntarily counting and having fun with numbers!
2. Waterfall Splash
- cardboard or wooden ramp
- tub of water
- objects of different sizes and weights
- Set out a tub of water and a variety of objects.
- Set up a ramp that ends at the tub of water.
- Encourage children to select different objects to roll down the ramp.
- Which one will make the bigger splash?
- Continue to experiment rolling one or multiple objects down the ramp.
- Which object makes the biggest splash?
- Did the child try out different ways to drop items down the ramp?
- Did she help others problem-solve through any challenges?
The kids love sending everything down these vinyl gutters we picked up at Lowe’s. They are wonderful for boat races too. If you don’t have left over gutters hanging around a slide works great too! Once they had discovered that rocks made the biggest splashes they decided to see if they could make the splash even bigger. They experimented with dumping water behind the rock to make it go faster, starting the rock higher up on the gutter, and placing the gutter at a steeper angle.
3. Diving for Letters
- alphabet cards*
- rocks (26)
- permanent marker (Our silver metallic sharpie worked great!)
- tub of water
- ( The water bins we used are just small all purpose plastic tubs we got for $5 at Lowe’s. They are fantastic sensory bins! )
- Write each letter of the alphabet (lowercase) on a rock.
Discuss and Explore
- Set out the tub of water.
- Invite one child to write a letter on the surface of the water and have others guess what it is.
- Take turns writing letters in the water.
- Drop all 26 rocks into the water.
- Spread out the alphabet cards on the floor.
- Invite each child to “dive” for a letter and identify it. Wipe it dry.
- Walk around the cards and find the matching uppercase letter.
- Place the rock on the card.
- Play again.
- Only use a few familiar letters instead of all 26 letters.
- Create words or nonsense words with rock letters.
- Did the child identify most of the letters in the alphabet?
- Could he match the lowercase letter with the uppercase letter?
The kids enjoyed tracing the letters in the water and fishing out the ones they could identify. They worked together to find the uppercase matches.
They really, really wanted to throw the rocks into the water. So, we devised a few alternatives for this game to keep the fun going a bit longer.
1. Win a Toss
If you correctly named the letter and the sound it made, you got to throw the rock into the water bin. If the rock landed in the water bin and made a splash you got to take another turn. If you missed, it was the next player’s turn to identify a rock. This one took us through the alphabet twice!
2. Find and Toss
For this one I would call out the name of a letter or the sound it made and they had to find the rock and throw it into the water tub. For my youngster, I showed him an example of the letter before he had to find it. The goal was to go as fast as possible! I timed them, so they could try again to beat their best time, but they wore out on this one.
3. Toss Relay
At this point my youngest was done with the letters, but still wanted to play. So, we let him dive for the rocks. My middle child had to tell him what letter rock he had found. My middle and oldest had to match the rocks to the uppercase card. My oldest also got to throw the rocks back into the tub if she could name a word that started with that letter.
If you are interested in reading more about our experience with Mother Goose Time, check out our curriculum page!
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As a blog ambassador for Mother Goose Time, I am happy to share preschool curriculum ideas, activities, and crafts with my readers. Mother Goose Time provides our family the opportunity to use their curriculum free of charge in exchange for honest and authentic stories based on our personal experience.