Summer Splash

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School will soon be out, and children will be searching for
things to do. How can you possibly find enough fun-filled
activities to whet their appetites for the things of God?

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Chill out! We’ve got plenty of mix-and-match plans to help you
keep kids shrieking in delight with wild, wet fun all summer long.
Plan one big Summer Splash, or combine activities for multiple
events. You could have Wet and Wild Wednesdays in July or Saturday
Summer Splashes.

Open up the fun to your entire community. Most of these
activities are affordable and easy enough to do with big crowds of
kids. If you want to, charge an “admission” of one bag of water
balloons or a single sponge to creatively let the community know
what kind of events you’re sponsoring.

BEACHY CRAFTS

Sand Castle Clay

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You’ll need a big kettle (check thrift stores for a throw-away),
water, cornstarch, fine grain sand, and a large plastic bowl. In
the kettle, bring 4 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Add 3 cups of
cornstarch and bring to a boil again. Gradually add 6 cups of sand,
stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Transfer the mixture into a
plastic bowl, and let it cool. This is enough clay for about a
dozen kids to make small sand castles or other sculptures. Air dry
the finished creations.

Giant Aquarium

Wash an old sheet in the washer and spin dry it. A blue sheet is
best! Store it damp in a plastic bag until you’re ready to use it.
When children arrive, hang the sheet in an area where it won’t
catch too much wind. Keep it moist by occasionally spritzing it
with plain water. Put one part tempera paint and two parts water
into various spray bottles. Have the kids create an aquarium scene
by spray painting fish and sea plants on the sheet. The imperfect
form of the sea life makes it look as though you’re really looking
through water!

Pool Painting

Line the bottom of a small inflatable pool with butcher paper.
Put tempera paint in pie tins. Have kids roll tennis balls in
different colors of paint, then toss them into the pool. Have them
work in teams to move the balls inside the pool, creating cool
free-form paintings.

Water Shadow Art

After a dip in the pool, have kids lie down on a warm sidewalk,
and quickly get up. Before the water shadows dry, have kids outline
their bodies with sidewalk chalk and fill in their features.

Ice Castles

You’ll need plenty of bags of ice cubes for this cooperative
craft!

Form groups and give each group a bag of ice and a box of salt.
A tiny sprinkle of salt between ice cubes makes them stick together
and allows children to form walls, towers, and lookouts. But work
quickly before the supplies melt away forever. (This is a great
craft to do during an indoor break.)


YUMMERIFIC SNACKS

Model Swimsuits

You’ll need Fruit Roll-Ups fruit rolls, strips or packets of a
fruit snack, paper plates, and plastic knives. Have each child use
a roll-up and contrasting fruit snacks to design and form a
swimsuit.

Triple Slushie Snacks

You’ll need three flavors of juice, one small resealable plastic
bag for each child, wooden blocks, clear plastic cups, and plastic
spoons. Pour the juices into the bags, keeping the flavors
separate. Freeze these bags.

Form groups of three. Give each group a wooden block, three
clear plastic cups, three plastic spoons, and three bags of frozen
juice, making sure each group has all three flavors. Show children
how to use the block to crush the juice. Then tell them to layer
each of the three crushed juices in the clear cups to make this
yummy refreshing snack.

Pop Drops

For each child, you’ll need a small paper cup, a Tootsie Pop
sucker, and about 4 ounces of a lemon lime soft drink. Unwrap the
suckers and place one in each paper cup. Pour the soft drink into
the cups. Freeze the cups until solid. Children can tear off the
paper cups and hold the Pop Drop Pops by their sticks to eat
them.

Mondo Floats

For every six kids, you’ll need a new, clean sand bucket (with a
clean shovel); a quart of vanilla ice cream; a 2-liter bottle of
root beer; straws; and spoons. (Individual cups are optional.) Have
kids use their shovels to scoop ice cream into their sand buckets,
then pour root beer over the top. Add straws and enjoy!

Big Fish Snacks

You’ll need vanilla wafers, vanilla pudding, blue food coloring,
whipped topping, chocolate wafer cookies, clear plastic cups, and
plastic spoons. Crush vanilla wafers to form a layer of “sand” in
the bottom of each cup. Spoon in vanilla pudding made with a few
drops of blue food coloring. Top with whipped topping “sea foam.”
Create a big fish floating in the “water” by pushing a chocolate
wafer cookie halfway into the pudding sea.


AN OCEAN OF DEVOTION

Split Sea Soup

Put two bed sheets in the bottom of a small inflatable pool,
bunching up one edge of each sheet in the center so you can grasp
and separate the two. Fill the pool with water balloons. Have one
child walk across the water balloons, lifting each foot high above
the balloons between steps. Then read the story of God separating
the Red Sea in Exodus 14:21-31. Say: When the Israelites looked
over the water, all they saw was how it would crash over them, like
the water from the water balloons crashed over our friend’s feet.
But God had a different plan. Pull back the bed sheets to separate
the water balloons, leaving a path through the pool. Have the kids
walk across the path.

Say: God did a miracle to keep his people safe.
We remember this story because it helps us know just how powerful
our God really is. Use the sheets to remove the water balloons.
Then form two teams for kids to use up the water balloons on each
other.

Nowhere to Hide

Choose a child to be “It.” Arm this child with a water-filled
squeeze bottle. Have children hide while It closes his eyes and
counts to 40. It will hunt for the hiders and squirt them when
found.

Afterward, gather the children and read aloud Jonah 1:1-17. Ask:
Who can hide from God?

Say: God was counting on Jonah to carry his
message. God counts on us to carry his message today, too. There’s
no way to hide from God, even if you’re just a little squirt!

Squirt the rest of the bottle into the air, letting the water
fall on your listeners.

Walking on Water

You’ll need two hoses hooked up and ready to go. Shoot the hoses
toward each other, forming a “water bridge.” Perform these “walking
on water” feats.

  • Challenge kids to step onto a 1-foot-high water bridge with
    both feet.
  • Form a 5-foot-high arc of water and have kids walk under
    it.
  • Form a 1-foot-high bridge for kids to step over.

Afterward, ask: Why couldn’t you walk on the
water bridge, even though you could go over it or under it?

Read aloud Matthew 14:25-32. Ask: What do you
think it took for Peter to walk out to Jesus? What has Jesus asked
you to do that seems impossible?

Say: Peter had to keep his attention on Jesus
to do what Jesus asked. We need to keep our attention on Jesus too!
How can you do that this week? Once children have answered, squirt
all of them.

Calm Down

You’ll need several aluminum pie plates, water-filled spray
bottles, a water hose with a sprayer, and a loud air horn or
whistle.

Tell children that as soon as they hear your loud signal,
they’re to instantly stop whatever they’re doing and run to a
designated spot. Then have kids use the items to create a high
intensity storm. After a while blow the whistle. Then gather
children and ask: Why did you stop the storm?

Say: You stopped out of respect for me and the
rules we established. Listen to what happened in Mark 4:35-41. Read
the passage. Ask: How is the way the wind and
waves stopped at Jesus’ command like the way you stopped when I
asked you to? How is this Bible story different from what we
experienced?

Say: Jesus has power over everything, even
natural things such as storms. What does that tell you about Jesus’
power for your life?


PUBLICITY PIZAZZ

Use these aquatic ideas to attract children’s attention.

  • Make glistening drops of water on invitations or posters by
    mixing one-half package blue gelatin with one 4-ounce bottle of gel
    glue. Drop a bit onto the paper and pull the nozzle up and away
    from the puddle to form a drop shape. Dry thoroughly.
  • Create publicity posters on foam core board. Then set them in
    beach chairs under sun umbrellas all around your church.
  • Loop the top of a butcher paper poster around a spongy swim
    noodle. Then hang the ends of the noodle from a rafter. Or write
    one detail of the event on each of a series of inflated arm floats,
    and string them in sequence across a hallway.
  • Cut a beach towel into a fabric puzzle. Send a piece of the
    puzzle in each invitation, challenging your kids to totally
    reconstruct the towel on poster board by bringing their pieces to
    the party.

SPLASH AND DASH GAMES

Crossing the Sea

What You Need:

  • a sprinkler
  • a garden hose

Choose a child to be Moses. He or she will control the sprinkler
by holding on to the hose with it “crimped” to stop the flow of
water. Designate two “safe” areas with a large “sea” between them.
Line up the rest of the kids along one of the safe zones. Moses
will stand in the middle of the sea with his or her back turned to
the other kids and crimping the hose.

When Moses says, “The Israelites are safe and dry. Now let the
Egyptians try,” the rest of the children run to the other side
before Moses squirts them with water.

Hailstones Plague

What You Need:

  • sponges or washcloths (two or three for each child who’s
    playing)
  • a large tub of ice water
  • a stopwatch
  • a whistle

Form two teams. Choose one team to throw wet sponges or cloths
while the other team dodges them. Blow your whistle to signify the
beginning and ending of each 1 1/2-minute round. At the end of each
round, return all the “hailstones” to the bucket of ice water, and
have teams switch roles. Keep this game moving at a fast pace!

Water Crawl

What You Need:

  • several pool floats (about 6 feet long)
  • an air pump
  • a hose
  • a sprinkler

Inflate and line up the floats to form a straight “path” across
a grassy area. Turn on the sprinkler and position it so it gets
most of the float-path wet. To play, kids will crawl across floats
without sinking. If they slip off the floats, they must start over.
(Do not allow children to walk upright on the floats because the
surface will be very slippery and could result in an injury.)

Big Fish Tug

What You Need:

  • two pool floats (about 6 feet long)
  • an air pump
  • a hose
  • a sprinkler
  • a large beach towel

Inflate the floats and place them about 3 feet apart with their
short ends facing each other. Turn on the sprinkler.

Form teams of four. Have each team’s players sit on their knees
one behinds another in a line on each float. The front person of
each team grabs one end of the beach towel. The other team members
put their arms around the waist of the person in front of them. On
“go,” the teams tug until one team has pulled the other team off
its float, or until one team has the entire towel.

Whales’s Mouth

What You Need:

  • a small soft-sided child’s pool
  • an air pump
  • a hose
  • an old bed sheet or blanket

Inflate the pool and fill it with about 3 inches of water. Form
two teams. Line teams up on opposite sides of the pool. Stretch the
bed sheet or blanket over the pool. Each team member grabs as much
of the bed sheet or blanket as he or she can. On “go,” everyone
pulls. The Tug of War continues until one person steps or falls
into the pool or the “whale’s mouth.”

Storm Relay

What You Need:

  • one pool float (about 6 feet long) for each team
  • an air pump
  • a hose
  • a sprinkler

Designate a start and finish line. Turn on the sprinkler in the
open area between the lines. This is the stormy sea.

Form teams of three. Have each team choose one person to pull
the float. The other two teammates sit on the float at a designated
start line. On “go,” the teams race through the sprinkler area to
the finish line. Each teammate must have a turn pulling the float
before reaching the finish line.

Ice Fishing

What You Need:

  • a soft-sided child’s pool filled with water and ice cubes

One at a time, kids step into the pool and try to remove as many
ice cubes as possible with their toes, before their toes become
numb from the cold. Let kids return to this event multiple times,
each time striving for a personal best. If you’re playing this game
indoors, set the pool on top of an absorbent blanket.

Sheep Swim

What You Need:

  • a big pool

Have all the children sit around the shallow end of a pool. Form
pairs and have partners choose which child will be the Shepherd and
which one will be the Sheep.

Have all the Sheep jump into the pool and close their eyes. Then
have the Shepherds switch places around the edge of the pool and
place their feet in the water. Each Shepherd calls “Here sheep!”
Without opening their eyes, the Sheep must grab hold of their
Shepherd’s ankles. Then have pairs switch roles and play again.

Slimeball

What You Need:

  • two tubs of water
  • two inflated beach balls

Form two teams. Have each team form a line by standing one
behind another. Place a tub of water about 4 feet in front of each
line (vary the distance based on age). The first person on each
team must take an inflated beach ball, walk up to the tub of water,
and in one smooth motion, submerge the ball into the water and then
throw it back over his head to his team. A point is given if
someone on the team catches the ball. The first person then moves
to the back of the line. Play to 15 points or for a predetermined
amount of time.

Caterpillar Cooldown

What You Need:

  • two bowls of water for each team of eight
  • four sponges for every team of eight

Form teams of eight. Have team members line up one behind
another. Place a bowl with water at the beginning and end of each
line. Place four sponges in the bowl at the beginning of each
line.

On “go,” the first person in line on each team grabs a wet
sponge and, without squeezing, hands it overhead to the person
behind him or her. The second person passes it through his or her
legs to the third person, the third person hands it overhead to the
fourth, and so on. When the sponge gets to the last person in line,
she dips the sponge in the bowl, then returns it in the other
direction. Meanwhile, the first person continues passing until the
bucket is empty. The first team to have all four sponges back in
the original bowl wins.


WATER GAME SAFETY TIPS

  1. Have plenty of adult supervision, especially with young
    children.
  2. Make sure all the children understand the game rules before
    starting.
  3. Have too-rough players sit out and watch the remainder of the
    game.
  4. Never leave a tub or pool of water unattended. Empty containers
    immediately after play.

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