I was a little nervous about how I would entertain my two very different kids this summer.  My 5 ½ year old is all about “adventure” and keeping active, where my 2 year old likes to keep up with his older sister but he’s just fine sitting and playing alone quietly.  (I am still mentally recovering from his broken femur this winter so I am 100% FINE with him playing less active things.)  Pre-summer  I kept picturing the pool and how that would be a nightmare for me with both of them, the park and how my anxiety takes over especially when there are 100 older kids pushing through my newly walking son to get onto the equipment, and the playing inside where they will just end up fighting over the same toys.  I knew my best bet this summer (besides lots of caffeine for this momma) was to think of things we could do together that aren’t too much “big kid” or “little kid” fun.

I decided to pull out the old toys for the backyard and see what we could manage without having to buy a TON of new stuff.  I have the old sand and water table my daughter used as a toddler that I honestly only ever used as a water table.  (I didn’t want to deal with half sand and half water and then have all mud by the end.)  I got the back patio all set up and I was wondering how my older kid would react.  I knew my son would love it, but I was thinking the daughter would say it’s for babies and snub her nose at the table.  Well, I’m happy to report that it turns out you’re never too old for a water table!  (Well, at least a 5 ½ year old will like it!)

Let me tell you what… the happiness I had watching my kids play together while I sat on the bench on the patio was priceless.  Most things will keep them distracted for a few hot minutes but this handy little water table lasted an hour.  Yes, you read that right;  1 whole hour of play… there were a few moments of yelling because someone splashed someone and someone took someone’s water toy, but that’s to be expected in my house.  Who knew water was so fun?  The best part too is once the water runs out I just walk over, grab the hose, refill it and away they go again.  The dog even had a nice drinking bowl that was finally his height as well.  It was a win/win.

Now a few things I did find interesting about the water table this year:

1)  My daughter thought because she was playing at a water table and in her swimsuit that it would be okay to pee in the backyard.  Um…. What?!?  Turns out my dad (thanks Grandpa!) lets her pee in his grass when she is at his pool in his backyard in order to keep her from getting his floors all wet.  I did have to explain to this little lady that a water table is not like a pool (aka your bottom isn’t in it) and also that what happens at Grandpa’s house can ONLY happen at Grandpa’s house.  Oh my.

2)  The water from the hose is a little FREEZING some days and my little guy turns blue easily it appears.  All I have to do is fill it ¾ full with hose water then I get hot water from inside, fill up my pitcher, and pour hot water into both sides of the table to make the water a little more tolerable.  Easy peasy.  I’ve also learned if I fill the table on a hot day while the toddler is napping that it will be warmer by the time he awake and ready to play.

3)  Turns out my kids like playing with everyday cups in the water table almost better than the pool toys and squirters I have in it.  Guess you don’t need to buy additional toys to keep them occupied if there is water around.

4)  For easy clean-up when we are done I just strip them down on our back patio where said water table is, wrap them in towels, and take them straight up for baths.  (We do have a semi-private patio surrounded with trees…)  It definitely makes bedtime easier too since they are already clean and ready to go down after dinner and a little playtime inside.  I appreciate the extra few minutes post bedtime these days I’m not gonna lie!

I guess all in all I am just saying if you have kids around the ages of my kids and you are having a hard time entertaining them this summer that you just need to get a water table.  I’d go out and get one asap.  Heck, I really think any form of container with water would do the trick!

Happy summer and hopefully you all are able to sit back, watch the kids play and get a little “you time” in as well!