I wanted to share a simple activity I found several months ago that kept my kids happy and entertained outside for a good while. When we did this I had a raised garden bed that had been given over to the kids so I didn’t have to worry about the dish soap getting on the plants and removing their protective coating. Since then we’ve moved but I definitely want to come up with a way to bring back our dinosaur pools. I love how this activity is so simple to set up and the kids can spend hours outside on pretend play either together or in their own world. The best part? Clean up is simple as you can easily overturn the bucket and it’s ready and waiting for the next time you want to fill it up again… and again and again.
A common activity over the years has been to take a bin or bucket, fill it with soapy water, and let the kids go to town with it. This activity was taken and changed slightly for Zoey’s sink or flat sensory bin at her birthday party last year. Since her party we’ve been playing with the plastic outside dinosaur toys we bought for the dinosaur footprints sensory bin constantly. This time, though, I changed it up by grabbing a plastic dish pan, embedding it within the garden, and included the dinosaurs right away by marketing it as a dinosaur ‘bath tub’. The kids had a blast playing. The fact it was in our raised garden bed made it perfect for Ada to stand at while playing instead of having to crouch or lean over next to it. Zoey ended up pulling over a chair so she could easily reach which made Ada decide to pull over an old booster seat we had on the deck so they could both be up higher. At one point I heard Zoey say “swimming lessons. 3, 2, 1, blastoff” before her dinosaur went splash. Later on she wandered over to me so I could wash her hands but before I could move she turned and wandered back to the dinosaur ‘pool’, saying “use this”, and continued to play without needing me to help.
The bin was a hit and once they started arguing about sharing I quickly grabbed a sand bucket and set up another dinosaur swimming pool so they’d each have their own. It was super simple. I used one of their sand shovels to dig a hole in the garden. I kept pausing to check if the hole was wide and deep enough. Once I was happy I put the bucket into the hole and built up the dirt around it to keep it fully in place. Bonus I could see making a little pathway, or further landscaping, for the dinosaurs at this point. I then filled it up and it was ready to go.
Ada ended up taking a break by taking her dinosaurs over to her chair for pretend play dinosaur conversations who at one point were telling each other how many legs they each had.
And once they were done I left it set up and they were back to play later that afternoon; after a break for some lunch and quiet time.
And when they were done for the day it was a simple matter to remove the bin and bucket, empty the water, and put them upside down to dry. The holes were left there so I was easily able to set the ‘bath tubs’ inside them the next day… and when the play finally grows old you can simple fill in the holes.
It was a frequently recurring request.
I love how this simple activity kicked off hours of pretend play. It was so simple to setup and required almost no cleaning afterwards. You can easily make the water warm if it’s cold out or add ice cubes to the water if it’s a hot day. There’s so many ways to change this up. Let me know if you did this and how your family changed it to make it your own. Feel free to share in the comments below, on my Facebook page, or through Instagram. I hope you have a great day!