Water Safety &
Supervision Training:
Preventing Drowning
in Child Care

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Non-Swimming Water Activities for Children
Book List for Summer Activities

Non-Swimming Water Activities for Children

To avoid the risks associated with combining young children in group care and pools/lakes here are some ideas for using outdoor water play during the summer months. Even with these safer activities, adults need to have "vigilance, vigilance, vigilance." As we all know, children can drown in as little as 2 inches of water within seconds.

Car Wash
With the hose nozzle on mist, set up a drive through tricycle wash with sponges, mild soap, and towels.

Firefighter's Muster
To show how fast and strong firefighters were, they would get together in the summer for friendly competition. One of the games was to use the fire hoses to push a ball into another team's net, thereby scoring a goal. With young children, the competition may not be necessary. A goal area, a large lightweight ball (beach balls work well), and a hose can be enough to challenge children. Note: taking turns with the hose may be difficult for some children.

Sprinkler from the Top
We have all stubbed our toes jumping through the summer sprinkler. This activity puts the sprinkler up out of toes' reach. Using a tree branch, fence, clothesline, or the top of a climbing structure, secure the sprinkler up high. The activity area will be larger than if the sprinkler was on the ground, allowing more children to play in the "rain."

Inexpensive and durable, raingutters from the local hardware store need a little edge smoothing before using. The edges on many raingutters are not finished so they can be sharp and cause cuts and scraps if not sanded down first. Fortunately this is an easy task. Using a rough grain sand paper (80 - 120 grit works perfect) rub the edges of the gutter. That's it. Now with a water source, kids can build waterfalls, cascades, and ramps. Water, matchbox® cars, dirt, peastone, small boats, or any loose playground materials will be used to test gravity's pull. You may want to cut some of the ten foot sections into 2 and 5 feet for easier handling.

Homemade Water Slides
Having smiling young children run to the edge of a Slip ‘n Slide® as they dive onto their bellies only happens in commercials. Bruised knees and bloody noses are far more common in my experience. Homemade water slides are better suited for our younger slippers. Place a plastic tarp on a hill. Put the hose down from the top. With the child sitting feet first, they can slip down to the end. I have added a mild soap for some faster trips to the bottom. You need to be careful not to put the tarp over rock or sharp objects.

Wading Pool Transformed
This activity puts the pool toys within reach without the children being in the water. Like with the raingutters, first smooth the plastic edges of the wading pool with some course sandpaper. Next have categorized buckets of water toys (i.e. boats, containers, balls, mild soap and wire whisks/egg beaters) near the pools. Allow the children to dump and play with the toys while sitting on the outside of the pool.

Cooling Mist
Being sprayed with a hose isn't very much fun for many of us. Often the water is cold and hits us in the face. We can still get wet without the panic of being hosed down. Using the mist setting, point the hose up into the air. Now a gentle film of cooling water can cool us without alarm.

Warmer Water
After the water facet has been running for a while, it often gets too cold to be comfortable. Adults may consider using additional lengths of hose and running them over driveways or other hot surfaces to warm the water. I have put a hundred feet of hose up on the roof to get warmed by the sun before being used in water play.
WARNING: When the hose is shut off, the water left in the hose will quickly become too hot to use. Adults should always test the water temperature before using it with children. This means letting the water run for several minutes, then testing to see if the temperature is comfortable enough to use with young children.

Have some other favorite alternatives to swimming for summer water play? E-mail suggestions. Some will be included in the next revision of this article. info@NHWaterSafety.com

Book List for Summer Activities

The Kids Summer Games Book
Jane Drake Ann Love Heather Collins (Illustrator)
Price: $10.95
Format: Paperback, 175pp.
ISBN: 1550744658
Publisher: Kids Can Press, Limited
Pub. Date: March 1998

The Kids' Summer Handbook
Jane Drake Heather Collins (Illustrator) With Ann Love
Price: $15.95
Format: Paperback, 1st ed., 208pp.
ISBN: 0395687098
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Pub. Date: March 1994
Edition Desc: 1st American ed

Summer Smarts for Cool Kids: 101 Fantastic and Fun Learning Activities to Help Kids Beat the Summer Blahs
Penny Warner
Price: $12.95
Format: Paperback, 288pp.
ISBN: 0761537473
Publisher: Prima Communications, Inc.
Pub. Date: May 2002

Summer Fun!: 60 Activities for a Kid-Perfect Summer
Michael P. Kline Susan Staff Williamson (Editor)
Price: $12.95
Format: Paperback, 160pp.
ISBN: 1885593333
Publisher: Williamson Publishing Company
Pub. Date: April 1999

The Best Summer Ever : A Parents' Guide
Joan M. Bergstrom
Price: $9.95
Format: Paperback, 112pp.
ISBN: 1883672228
Publisher: Tricycle Press
Pub. Date: February 1995

A Ladybug's Life
John Himmelman Melissa Stewart (Editor)
Price: $6.95
Format: Paperback, 32pp.
ISBN: 0516263536
Publisher: Scholastic Library Publishing
Pub. Date: August 1998

Busy Bees Summer: Fun for Two's and Three's
Elizabeth McKinnon Jean Warren (Editor) Gayle Bittinger
Price: $15.95
Format: Paperback, 136pp.
ISBN: 1570290660
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Children's Publishing
Pub. Date: May 1995

300 Three Minute Games: Quick and Easy Activities for 2-5 Year Olds
Jackie Silberg Cheryl Kirk Noll
Price: $12.95
Format: Paperback, 192pp.
ISBN: 0876591829
Publisher: Gryphon House, Incorporated
Pub. Date: August 1997

The Giant Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Children 2 to 5: Over 600 Favorite Activities Created by Teachers for Teachers
Kathy Charner (Editor) Rebecca B. Schoenfliess (Illustrator)
Price: $29.95
Format: Paperback, 511pp.
ISBN: 0876591667
Publisher: Gryphon House, Incorporated
Pub. Date: July 1993



This workshop is provided with funding from DCYF / Child Development Bureau

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