Summer is in full swing, and more than likely your kids are getting restless. Once the all encompassing joy of "no school!" has worn off and the inflatable sprinkler toys have sprung leaks, boredom has a funny way of creeping in and zapping the fun right out of summer! What to do?
Send the kids outdoors with a sand or water play table and let them go nuts. They will have hours of fun splashing around and getting dirty and you will get a few precious moments to sit and do...well, nothing. Best of all, while your kids think they are getting messy with your permission (a definite plus) you can breath easy knowing that play tables aren't all fun and games. Consider the following:
When kids are playing with things like sand or water, they aren't just splashing around and making mud pies; they're also using their learning about the world around them. Will the sand piles always cave in when you pour water on it? If I bury Carrie Cries Alot in the sand, will I remember where to find her? Do Mommy's car keys always sink to the bottom of the water pail? It may seem simple for adults, but for a preschooler who is still learning the concept of cause and effect, this is revolutionary stuff.
Sand tables and water tables are virtual breeding grounds for imaginative new games. Children are pros at finding and new, fun, and sometimes strange ways to make an old game brand new again. G.I. Joe treks across the hot and dangerous sand table dessert or perhaps Betty the Bear is hunting for fish in a pretend stream. Either way, when children use their imaginations they are also honing in on things they have learned; from the eating habits of grizzlies to healthy ways of expressing emotions.
So get outside and enjoy the fresh air without feeling guilty. Who knows? Maybe you'll decide to get a little messy yourself.