Instant chocolate pudding
2 cups cold milk
Flat bottom ice cream cones
Plastic container with tight sealing lid
(Place the pudding mix in the plastic container before starting this activity.) Ask the children if they've ever had mud pies. Tell them you have and they're delicious. Show them the container and explain that it's dirt. Pass it around and let them smell it. (Be cool and don't let on!) Build vocabulary by talking about how dry the dirt is. What's the difference between dirt and mud? Suggest adding a liquid and pour in the two cups milk. Seal tightly, then pass the container around the group, encouraging each child to "shake, shake, shake." Open it up and have the children describe what happened. Serve in the ice cream cones.
Adaptations: Add seeds (sunflowers) and a worm (gummy worm).
*Fishing worms are also fun to hide in the sand!
Liquid dish detergent
Fill the cup half way with water. Squirt in some dish detergent. Give children a straw and tell them to BLOW! (If you'll put a pin prick at the top of the straw, it's less likely that they'll suck up soapy water. I also have children practice blowing on their hand with the straw before we begin so they'll get the idea.) The bubbles will spill over the cup and are fun to pat on arms, legs, etc. It's great to run through the sprinkler after you "paint" your body with bubbles.
Adaptations: Add a drop of food coloring to the solution to make colored bubbles. Give children a pan of water and an egg beater. (Most children have never seen one of these before except in books!) Add a squirt of detergent to the water and let them "beat" up some bubbles.
Rub A Dub Dub
Have children bring their washable dolls to school. Fill tubs with water and soap, and then have a bathing party. Add sponges, wash clothes, and squirt bottles.
Adaptations: Let children wash doll clothes and hang them on a clothesline with spring clothespins.
Save spray bottles from cleaning products. (Make sure you rinse them out well first!). Fill them with water and let the children squirt each other, water plants, clean lawn furniture, etc.
Adaptations: A sponge or paintbrush and a bucket of water will also entertain children for hours. They can sponge off a tree, their riding toys, or themselves. They can paint the house or playground equipment.
Hide shells and other small toys in a sandbox and let the children “dig” for treasures.