Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Holiday Water Play

Well, the extended weekend over the Memorial Day holiday was wonderful. We enjoyed our visit with our son's godmother more than I can say. Often, on her visits, we go to many of the wonderful attractions here around St. Louis. This time the dual contributions of 95 degree weather combined with our new outdoor sprinkler park caused us to decide to just hang around the house enjoying the deck and spending quality time together.

We spent hours each day on the deck playing with the children in the water. Here are some additional ideas for fun with a water sprinkler system used as a homemade sprinkler park for kids.

A while back we noticed that the children loved playing with all the various PVC pipe connectors at home improvement stores. That gave me an idea for a simple cheap building toy for the kids. We bought some connectors and some pipe. My husband cut the pipe to several different lengths and the children have a blast building shapes, cubes, flags, and all sorts of free form creations with the pvc materials. I brought the bin out on the deck and encouraged the children to run the sprinkler hoses into the pipes to build fountains and sprinklers.

I also persuaded my husband to run an extra length of the sprinkler tubing down from the deck over to the children's playset to mount some sprinklers over the slide. He put in a joint so we can disconnect it and pull it back up onto the deck when he needs to mow the lawn. There's also a valve so the children can turn the water on and off at will to switch the slide from regular mode to water slide mode. I taught them how to pull a small kiddie pool over to the bottom of the slide and they went to it.

As it turns out, the smaller diameter sprinkler hosing works beautifully for filling up water balloons. We filled up a ton of water balloons and let the kids pop them by throwing them down onto the surface of the deck. It didn't occur to them to throw them at each other and I didn't feel the need to point that out as an option. They had a blast. We also turned several of them into baby water "piggies" and put them in the water table with soapy blue water (I called it their pigpen). The soap made for a nice sensory experience as well as making the baby piggies difficult to catch. Then we had to make mama and daddy piggies. Eventually the children convinced me to move the piggy families into the big pool. I colored the water with some washable tempera paint and the children had a blast taking care of the piggies. Some of the balloons were filled with water. Some were filled with air. Some were filled halfway with water so they could be shaken. Some we filled with water and a little soap so that bubbles were formed when the kids would shake the balloon. My husband even managed to get a small water balloon filled up inside a larger balloon so the kids could watch one bounce around inside another. Michael decided that one was a pregnant mama piggy with a baby insider her and Ava instantly demanded another for her piggy family. All in all, the water balloon piggies were a surprising success.


  1. Hi, I was reading about your journey with your daughter and her speech. I am wondering how things turned out and if you still think she has apraxia? Your earlier descriptions fit my daughter to a tee. When she was 21 months she only said ya and up, and everything else was da. She was diagnosised with global development delay with her language being the most severe delay. She is now almost 27 months and though her receptive has improved from 11 month level to 23 month level in the past 6 months, her expressive language has only increased by 4 months. I now put her at an 18 month level in speech. Most of her speech is in jargon with a few words here and there. She had great difficulty with the b and p sound. Just now can start making some b and p words, before she was substituting d and then m in their place. She also has just started learning how to blow in the past month. She has been in ST since 18 months of age (so 8 months), but really only seen improvement in the past 2 months. No one has mentioned apraxia yet, but I am wondering if we are headed down that path. For the record, I had a very severe speech problem when I was growing up. Couldn't produce the r, sh, or l sound until I was 19. Since most words have these letters in them you can realize my speech was mostly unintelligible even as a teenager (it was worse since my name contained all 3 sounds so I couldn't pronounce my name properly until I was in university). Since my daughter was born I have worried that she would have a similar speech problem like I did and I don't want that to happen. She has been in Early Intervention since 6 weeks of age (she was born 9 weeks early and came home at 6 weeks old) and has also been getting private therapy in the past month and a half since EI will only offer her a max of 4 hours a week.

    1. Ava is still receiving about 2 1/2 hours of speech therapy outside of the home and another hour of therapy here in the home each week. Her receptive and expressive language skills are age appropriate or perhaps a bit advanced. Her speech is still significantly delayed. It's been a while since we've done a normed test, so I don't know how behind, but very behind. On the other hand, she's made huge progress. She's looking more phonological with a mild motor planning component these days than pure apraxic. The apraxia (or motor planning) component of her overall speech problems is relatively mild. If she were severely apraxic, we wouldn't have seen this much progress. Thanks for asking.

      First, it's wonderful that your daughter began receiving intervention so early and that she's been consistently receiving services. Her speech and language problems sound complex and it is difficult to tease out a specific speech diagnosis in children so young. I can only advise that you talk to your speech therapist about your concerns.

      Also, from experience, I'd say to be patient a little longer. Ava looked severely apraxic at 23 months and now (at 39 months) appears to have only a mild motor planning problem. Give your daughter a little more time to grow and develop. Give her more time with therapy. Things should get a little clearer in the next year or two.

      Good luck!


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