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Water Play Without The Fight

A water fight is a fun and energetic way to cool down on a hot sunny day. But as it's a messy activity, wastes a lot of water, and can run up your water bill, it's not something you want to encourage your children to do every day.

To kick-start your Summer holidays, we've come up with this list of calmer, less chaotic ways to cool down.

Ice Blocks For this activity you will need some action figures or plastic animals, an empty margarine or ice cream tub, and plenty of room inside your freezer.

To make the ice block, partially fill the tub with water, and leave in the freezer for 2-3 hours. Then add the toy, and top up with water, before returning the tub to the freezer.

You could do the same thing with tiny toys, such as LEGO minifigures and an ice cube day.

On a hot day, place the ice blocks onto a water play table, or another clean, smooth flat surface, and challenge your children to free the toys. Provide tools that will help, like spoons and salt to sprinkle on. Encourage older children to experiment with adding salt or sugar and noticing the effect that has on the speed the ice melts.

Ice Boats Make tiny ice boats by pushing a tooth pick into an ice block, then adding a sail. Use tin foil or cling film to make a river down the garden slide, and around the garden, then sail the boats down stream. Bunch the foil or film together at the sides to make edges to the river and stop the boats straying onto the grass.

Sponge Water Fight If you want to limit the amount of water used during a water fight, this is a great way to do it. Give each child a bucket of water, and a dozen cheap washing up sponges. Set the limit, stating that is the total amount of water they have to play with. Now they can get each other wet with less wastage as they throw the wet sponges.

Water Balloon Boules Instead of throwing water balloons at each other, draw out an archery style target on the wall, or on the patio, with points allocated to each circle.

Perfume Mixing Collect flower petals and lavender heads, and provide mixing bowls and spoons so your children can mix up their own tubs of homemade perfume.

Water Pistol Skittles You will need some lightweight plastic skittles and a water pistol. If you don't have any skittles, you can decorate empty drinks bottles. Stand the skittles on a garden table, or line them up on the climbing frame ladder, basically they can go on any flat surface that you don't mind getting wet. Make the rules up to suit the age and stage of your children. You could give each person a maximum of three squirts to see how many skittles they can get down, or time how long it takes to knock the full set over. The rules don't matter so long as everyone is having fun.

For more top tips take a look at our ideas for keeping cool and alternative ways to play with water.

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