Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Fall Green Hour Ideas: Water Play

September in the Southeast is generally a mixed bag when it comes to weather.  At times the air is that perfectly cool and crisp temperature where anything you want to wear is okay – shorts, pants, t-shirt, hoodie…other times it feels as though summer returns for one last, lingering hurrah of heat and humidity.  Those are the days I hate – after being spoiled with a few cool, crisp days in a row, we get socked with pool weather again…but the pool’s been closed for weeks!!!  

But don’t let a closed pool stop you and your kiddo from having some wet and wild fun in the sun!  Here’s a few ideas for some impromptu green hour water play sans pool:

Sometimes the bucket treatment is self-inflicted...

Sometimes the bucket treatment is self-inflicted…

1.  THE BUCKET TREATMENT:  Growing up my cousin and I used to play a game at the pool called “The Bucket Treatment.”  There wasn’t a lot to it – basically it just consisted of one of us taking turns filling a bucket up as much as we could carry, and then throwing it in each other’s face as hard as we could at pointblank range.  The goal was to see how many “treatments” you could take before crying uncle (literally…).  But that’s not what I’m recommending you do to your child, unless of course you’re looking for a creative alternative to time-outs…just kidding.  What I am recommending however, is filling a bucket with water…and letting your kids have at it.  No rules, no regulations, just let their imaginations run free.  This happens to be one of C’s favorite outdoor past times of late.  Usually he starts by dumping most of it in the dirt to make a muddy playground for his bulldozers to dig around in.   After a while he’ll request fresh water to dunk all of the mighty machines in to clean them off.  

2.  SPRINKLER FUN:  I remember growing up my husband used to have a trampoline, and one of his favorite activities with his brothers was to put a sprinkler underneath the trampoline and jump (and fall) away!  Probably wasn’t the safest idea ever, but as far as I know, only one of them ever ended up with a concussion (and I don’t think that accident was related to the sprinkler…)  Anyway, whether you put it on a tramp, driveway, natural area, or your newly planted fall grass seedlings, a sprinkler can provide loads of entertainment.


Work AND play?!?

3.  SLIP ‘N SLIDE:  I must admit, until I did my research, I wasn’t sure whether these actually existed anymore, or whether they died in the 90’s along with big 80’s hair.  Not that it matters, because it’s pretty easy to construct your own anyway – all you need is a large tarp, a sprinkler, some mild liquid soap, and preferably a gently sloping hill.  Or, you could take the easy way out and buy the original Wham-O version here (but that might  constitute as cheating…)

4.  CAR WASH:  Up until a couple of weeks ago, I can’t remember the last time I manually washed my car.  To be honest, it was probably back in 2001 when I bought my first car (a black 1998 Mitsubishi Eclipse.  I thought I was hot stuff.)  But one recent morning C and I got all suited and sunscreened up to hit the pool…and when we got there we realized that the facility had switched to their fall hours and wouldn’t be opening until school let out in the afternoon.  Boo.  What were we to do?  Considering that my car was up to the windows in mud streaks from our river fording adventures from the New River Gorge the weekend before, I figured a car wash might be a good way to pass the morning away, especially since we were ready to get wet anyway.  Well, C thought it was just the greatest idea in the world, and kept himself occupied in soap suds and hoses for a solid hour.  (After we washed my car, we moved on to his wagon, and eventually even the trashcans…


Just a couple of little dudes having a ball in a creek…

5.  WADE IN THE WATER:  We’re lucky enough to have some creeks near our house, not to mention some awesome swimming holes near some of our favorite climbing areas.  A lake, pond, creek, or even just a small puddle is a great way for your kid to wet his feet as well as whet his imagination!  Bring a fishing pole, net, or jar to catch some creekside critters, or just have fun splashing around.  

So don’t think that the end of pool season means an end to water play.  There’s still plenty of opportunities to cool off on those stray autumn days stricken with heat.  How does your family enjoy getting wet and wild this time of year?


2 Responses to “Fall Green Hour Ideas: Water Play”

  1. My daughter, about to turn one, LOVES the water. My nephew on the other hand hated even getting splashed. C, certainly looks like he loves water too! Oh, and btw, my wife and I are pregnant again too! Only 6 weeks along at this point, but really excited!


    • Erica

      Caleb – Yes water is a big part of our outdoor plans so long as it’s warm enough (and every now and then even when it’s not ;)) CONGRATULATIONS on expecting #2!!!!! I know you guys must be thrilled. Does that mean May-ish? Yay for spring babies! 🙂

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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN