Friday, May 31, 2013

"Painting" the Deck with Water: Super-Simple Outdoor Toddler Fun!

On Day 3 of our 30-Day Outdoor Play Challenge, I stumbled upon an activity that was dirt-easy to set up, mess-free and totally immersed our 2 1/2 year old daughter S for a good 15-20 minutes. Plus, it got her practicing a valuable skill that could come in handy a few years down the road! ;)

"Painting" the Deck with Water!

- Container filled with water
- Paintbrush(es) (You could provide a few of different sizes)
- Deck! (Or, in lieu of this, a patio, fence, etc.)

- Place toddler, container filled with water and paintbrush(es) on deck.
- Observe! (You may need to remind toddler to periodically re-dip brush.)

This activity evolved out of a different one involving jumbo marshmallows in a tub of water. Surprisingly, my daughter grew bored of the marshmallows quickly and started spritzing the water onto the deck with her hands. Hooking her up with a chunky paintbrush was the logical next step!

She proceeded to "paint" lines, zigzags, big wet splotches and other shapes, chatting to herself almost the whole time. She had so much fun (and it was such a no-brainer to set up) that we repeated it tonight!

** Update **  It's 2 days later, and S has now requested to "paint" the deck for 4 straight days! (And probably counting.) We had to turn her down this morning as it was about to rain. Yesterday I gave her a small dish sponge which allowed her to paint chunkier sections at once, and a finer brush for more detailed designs. It's official - this is a Must Do activity for every parent out there with a toddler!!

So tell me - what easy & fun outdoor activities do your own kids enjoy?


  1. such a great way to keep them busy! Thanks for sharing - my kids would love this!

  2. I love that activity! When I first tried it, my kids spent an hour "painting our fence". I loved that it just evaporated and left for paint or chalk on my fence!


  3. Our girls love to do this, we use brooms or whatever is available. We have a pool which makes the water source so much easier!

  4. Love it! What a great idea :) Kids love painting (with water or with paint)! Hours of fun!

  5. Wow that looks like some good family fun! My daughters woukd love that. We just bought some metal table bases for our deck. We've been working on it for a while. Thanks for the post!