How do you spell "fun"?
With a bucket of water and 2 cups!
Ok, so this isn't exactly a manufactured toy. But it's a fun activity for the summer especially for someone who loves water and being outside. This is an easy, low-cost alternative to a water table such as the Step 2 WaterWheel Table, which we have.
Bill planted a few bell pepper and tomato seeds in pots on our back deck this year. The seedlings have sprouted and they need to be watered. We skipped the watering can and garden hose. Instead, we filled a bucket with water and gave Matthew 2 plastic cups for scooping and pouring water and encouraged him to help water the plants. He helped but we directed him to the other pots when he was over-watering one. We also had to remind him to be gentle with the plants. At one point, he smashed one of the little tomato seedlings with a cup. The plant lived. Luckily, he didn't come down on it too hard.
I like this activity for a couple of reasons:
1. A daily mundane chore becomes a fun learning experience for Matthew and I.
2. It encourages imaginative play.
A word of advice when playing with a bucket-o-water: always have a bath towel on hand. Matthew once thought it was a good idea to pour water on himself instead of into the pots. He thought it was so funny. After about ten cups of cold water over his head, he decided it was time to go inside the house, drenched from head to toe.
Toy Review Tuesday: Step 2 WaterWheel Table