Watery-themed play… the dry way!

For this month’s Little Bookclub, I decided it would be fun to dive beneath the waves and explore under the sea. To go along with our theme, I set up a quick and easy activity this afternoon, using the song ‘Row, row your boat’ as our starting point. It proved to be great fun for ToddlerGirl, providing a whole afternoon’s entertainment.

While she was napping, I laid out:

  • Some chiffony fabric we have in a beautiful blue/green, which makes perfect pretend water
  • A shallow cardboard box, to act as the boat
  • An empty wrapping paper roll and a couple of empty kitchen paper rolls, to act as the oars
  • A few toy fish and underwater sea creatures, dotted on and under the fabric – and a couple of rubber ducks on the top!
  • Some of ToddlerGirl’s soft toys inside the boat
  • Our ‘under the sea’ themed books propped open nearby

Once she was awake, she immediately went to the ‘boat’ and tossed the toys out to climb in herself! We sang a few verses of ‘Row, row your boat’ and I showed her how to paddle using the oars. This kept her occupied for a good while, as ‘Row, row’ is a favourite song at the moment and we know quite a few verses to this! (Her favourite by far is: “If you see a crocodile / Don’t forget to scream – aaaaahhhhh!”)

She then climbed out and started to play with the sea creatures dotted around the fabric. She particularly enjoyed finding the ones I’d buried underneath, taking them out and putting them back again to ‘hide’ them.

We then got the fabric out to examine it a bit more closely, putting it over our heads and swoshing it around the room. This was a lovely sensory experience for ToddlerGirl, especially when I pulled the fabric very slowly off of her, which was met with a chorus of “Again! Again!”. I also remembered we had some wonderful iridescent tissue paper, which I dug out; with its scrunchy texture and bluey green colour, it makes another great item for using as pretend water. ToddlerGirl loved waving this around and scrunching it up.

To finish off, I set up the boat scene again and this time added a lovely wooden fishing puzzle that we have. It comes with two fishing rods with magnets on the end that are used to ‘fish’ the puzzle pieces out. ToddlerGirl has her own little technique for using the rods: instead of dangling them over the pieces until the magnets ‘stick’, which does require a bit of control, she pulls the line through the rod and holds onto the magnet and then places this onto the puzzle pieces. She worked this out all by herself, which I thought was a great bit of problem solving!

As it was approaching dinner time, I left the scene set up with some soft toys again and ToddlerGirl played happily with them and the puzzle. I always consider it to be a very successful activity if it buys me some time to see to the dinner! Once everything was bubbling away on the stove, we snuggled on the sofa and read a few of our ‘under the sea’ themed books, a perfect end to an afternoon of (pretend) watery play…


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