I've been seeing... hmm... let's call them "giant squishy water bags" all over the kids and DIY boards on pinterest lately and honestly I thought it looked like a lot of fun. The following conversation with my husband went like this:
Me: "Let's buy some clear plastic sheeting, fold it in half, duct-tape the open edges together, fill it with water, and let the kids jump on it!"
Husband: "You're crazy. That'll never work."
Me: "But I saw it on Pinterest! It must work."
So, the next time we were at a home improvement store we bought some clear plastic sheeting and duct tape.
Then I folded it in half and taped the three open sides together leaving a 2-3 inch gap on one side and stuck a hose in it. Then I proceeded to re-tape the sides with about three more layers of duct tape to fix most of the leaking. If you decide to try it, I'd suggest slightly overlapping the plastic sheeting and just going with two layers of tape to begin with. I also had the kids stuff in some shapes made out of craft foam I had in my craft supplies stash. I propped the corner with the hole and hose up on a chair until the bag was about as full as I wanted it and then removed the hose and taped up the hole.
We ended up with this:
The children loved it. It was so much fun. They ran around on it exhausting themselves for an hour. They jumped on and chased air bubbles. They tried to push the foam shapes around inside the bag. Ava enjoyed running and sliding. How she managed to avoid slamming herself into a deck rail I do not know.
Now, if I were completely sane, I would have stopped once the children had run off their initial excitement. It had been great exercise, and a good sensory experience for the children. Ava pre-OT would never have walked on that squishy bag. Ava pre-OT couldn't have handled the wet and slightly sandy surface of the bag. The activity had already been a huge success.
I didn't stop there though. I was thinking about how to stretch the sensory experience even further. So I decided to strip the kids down to their undies and toss some washable tempera paint on top of the bag and see what happened. (You should have seen the look on the neighbor's face when he briefly came out onto his deck and glanced over to see me in the middle of squirting a puddle of red paint onto the "giant squishy water bag" right in between my two mostly naked children. He went right back inside.)
It started like this:
Then looked like this:
I didn't get a picture of the end, but Michael and Ava were covered in paint from head to toe. I hosed them and the bag down and we headed straight for the tub. They had so much fun.