Summer Play Idea: Easy Backyard Water Station

Jul 23, 2014


Have you ever had one of those ideas that you wish you'd thought of a LONG time ago? Yes? Well, me too. For three years I have had a sand play centre on my patio with no running water. There are no stairs down to the backyard, so we have no access to the water hose. I have hauled so many buckets of water from the kitchen to the sandbox. Oh, so many. And why? Because playing in the sand just isn't quite as much fun without water. Water and sand were made for each other. Water takes sand play to a whole new level of sensory exploration. Splashing, molding, packing, scraping, smoothing, digging and poking holes and building lakes and moats with water and sand will occupy your child so much longer than just a plain box of dry sand.


So, in the name of play, I have hauled buckets and pots and jars and bowls of water from my kitchen to the sand play centre. And all this time, I've had this little glass jar with a spout sitting INSIDE my kitchen. I've watched the children get their cups and fill them up, have a few gulps and carry on their way...never thinking that if I moved that water jug 3 feet onto patio, I could revolutionize our sand play centre. And then the lightbulb came on. And now the jug with the little spout is outside and the children have full access to water whenever they please. And my arms and back are getting a break.


I simply placed the jug on a stool right next to the sandbox, underneath the hanging baskets of tools and toys. The children did the rest...


I fill the jug with fresh water once per play session, and the children fill their cups, bowls, watering cans, and buckets independently. I strive to teach the little ones a sense of accomplishment in their own independence...this is one more big step and that direction. They love it. The preschoolers help the toddlers to fill the cups, quite pleased with the responsibility...


The toddlers are so very grateful for endless cups of water to dump and splash in...


And the best part? The water spout doubles as a hand-cleaning faucet, and I hung a hand towel close by, so little fingers are clean before they come back in the house! What could be better than that?


*Our water jug with the faucet was purchased at Wal-Mart for $19.99. I have also seen them in various sizes at Target. You could also use a plastic water jug with a push button faucet.

Article Author Arlee Greenwood
Arlee Greenwood

Arlee is an Early Childhood Educator, earning her degree at BYU Idaho. She runs a government accredited care center in her home in Red Deer, AB. She studied with the New York Institute of Photography and she owns her own photography studio. Arlee is a mother of 6, an aspiring yogi, a lover of books, bento box lunches, travel, good food and wine. She’s a blogger in her “spare time” and she will never say no to chocolate. Find her at Small Potatoes, on Twitter and on Facebook.

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