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Summer Fun: Water Activities, Safety and Conservation Tips for Families

Updated: Jul 30

Water, water everywhere! We’re a few weeks into our Summer Fun series as we continue to recommend ways parents can take learning outside the classroom. And this week we’re looking at the many benefits of water activities.


Why water? Nothing conjures up images of summer fun more than splashing around in the pool, playing in the sprinklers or hanging out at the beach. And while some of us are still digging out from a recent snowfall (thank you Rocky Mountains!) others are recovering from an early summer heat wave.


And there’s many benefits to making water activities part of your summer routine. It’s an incredible sensory experience for kids and can have a natural calming effect (on all of us!). And I expect we can all use a bit more of that in our lives right now.


So dig out your shorts and swimsuits, lather up with sunscreen and let’s dive in!


Benefits of Water Activities

If you think about all the different things you can do with water, it’s easy to recognize numerous learning opportunities and also the calming effect it can have on our mental health. We wanted to highlight three skills our kids can further develop while they’re playing in the water based on our earlier review of what kids need to be successful in the future.


Collaboration

Can kids work on their collaboration skills while playing around in the water? Absolutely! Collaboration is all about teamwork. Encourage them to set up a ‘homebase’ at the pool together or play some games like the classic Marco Polo or Sharks & Minnows. Even swim team, which often feels like an individual sport, has opportunities for kids to participate in relay races and other fun water games.


Creativity

Many of the ways we encourage creativity in our kids is with unstructured playtime. Turn on the sprinklers or fill up a small inflatable pool. Get out cups, bowls and other supplies and let them create their own games. Consider packing a picnic lunch and heading to your local pool, the beach or a water spot on a favorite hike. The key is less structure and just giving your kids a chance to explore.


Critical Thinking

One of the ways to stimulate critical thinking is to carve out some reflection time. And being in or around water is a great way to do this. Ever have a great idea in the shower? We need to offer the same opportunities for our kids. A quiet soak in the tub. A lounge day in the pool or at the beach. The key to this is quiet time so their minds can wander.


Resources - Elementary


The Best Water Games for Kids and Adults - Play Party Plan

Whether you’re looking for water games for kids or water games for adults, this list will have something to help you beat the heat this summer!


16 Indoor Water Play Ideas for Kids - What We Do All Day

A great list of quick activities to keep kids busy because we can’t be outside all day long! It's such a simple concept and it cleans up so easily.


Learning to Swim is Essential - US Swim School Association

Learning to swim is a life-or-death skill, essential for every child. Formal swim lessons between ages 1 and 4 can help reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. And it’s never too late to learn!


Resources - Middle/High


15 Competitive Water Balloon Games for Teens, Kids, and Youth Active Play - Press Print Party!

During a hot summer day, fun water balloon games are a great way for the kids to beat the heat.


What You Need To Know About CPR And Pool Safety - CPR Consultants Training Center

Unlike other traumatic and life-threatening happenings – a heart attack that stirs the crowd to action or a car accident that draws attention from passing drivers – drowning incidents are often silent and unexpected.


WaterSense - US Environmental Protection Agency

Take steps each day to save water and protect the environment by choosing WaterSense labeled products in your home, yard, and business. Learn more about WaterSense and how we can all get more by using less.


Join the Discussion

Playing in the water is almost guaranteed to get your kids off their devices and sharpen some of those ‘soft skills’ that researchers say are important for kids to learn regardless of what path they choose after high school.


Have a favorite water activity? We’d love to hear from you!



About the Author

Jennifer Larson is an entrepreneur, charter school founder and mother to four children. Connect with her @startupjen.

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