Summer is the perfect time to play in the water and perhaps to dream about floating down the river in a boat. Our book club took advantage of the warm weather and used a book based on a very familiar nursery rhyme/song about a boat. Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera uses the familiar first verse of Row, Row, Row Your Boat and then creates new verses about animals as the boat travels along a river. Each verse includes animal sounds (i.e. “SNAP, SNAP,” or “COO, COO”) that little ones can enjoy repeating. An illustration at the front and the back of the book shows the river path and where along the river the animals featured in each verse are found. The path follows the progression of verses in the book. My kids like to identify the animals on the river path before or after we read.
After reading the book, we played with our own backyard river that we made with tin foil, some rocks, and some water. Many kid bloggers have featured tin foil rivers, so this was simply our adaptation. To make our river, we unrolled heavy duty aluminum foil and laid it slightly down hill. We placed the down hill end of the foil in a baby pool partially filled with water. We folded up the edges of the foil so water wouldn’t escape and used some rocks to weight it down. From the uphill end, we turned a hose on to a gentle, but steady stream and let the water trickle down to create a flowing river. We floated boats down the river made of pool noodles cut into rings. In each ring, we stuck a toothpick and a piece of foam cut into a triangle (for a sail). If you have very young children, you might want to trade out the toothpick for a piece of a straw or anything that might be less pointy. The pool noodle ring makes a nice lightweight “boat” that floats rather smoothly down the tin foil river.
We had both “big kids” (older siblings) and toddlers at this meetings since the big kids aren’t in school during the summer here. This activity appealed to both age groups. The little kids liked floating the boats along the river and in the pool, while the big kids found creative ways to manipulate the boats and water using rocks to create dams. Both age groups were excited to interact with this open invitation!
For snack, we ate hard boiled egg boats. To create the boats, we cut a hard boiled egg in half lengthwise and gave the kids a mini stick pretzel and a piece of cheese cut into a triangle (for the mast and sail) and had them make their eggs into boats. We do recognize that both our activity and snack featured sail boats and the book was about row boats, but the the kids didn’t seem concerned…so neither were we!
If the weather is as hot by you and it is by us, take advantage–play with some water, row some boats, and read some books!