I sometimes struggle to motivate myself to face the heat and humidity, even when I know I need to get my children outside to play. Incorporating water helps, but sometimes I look for something to do beyond just running through a sprinkler. Enter: the bike wash!
An exciting way to start this play is to take a field trip to a real car wash and go through with your car. Talk about what’s happening and what you see: spinning brushes, soap squirting, clean water rinse, and so on. Your children then know what a car wash looks like from the inside!
When you get home, reenact your trip with a “bike wash.” Pull out bikes, trikes, and scooters. Engage children’s creative thinking to find objects to use. They can be as simple as dish rags or sponges, or more unusual such as paint rollers and pool noodles (Pinterest has lots of suggestions!). Bring out the hose and dish soap (or if you need to keep water use to a minimum, just fill a tub or large bowl with water to use sparingly). Have children change into swimwear (don’t forget the sunscreen!) and start washing! Another possibility is to leave the soap out, and have children take turns riding their “car” through the wash and get hosed down along with their vehicle. Even better, put on some music and make it a dancing bike wash.
In addition to getting outside, you’ve been engaging in physical activity, dramatic play, and sensory exploration. And maybe, just maybe, you were able to forget the heat and humidity for a little while!
If you’re looking for something more permanent, check out The Adventurous Child car wash activity: https://www.adventurouschild.com/product/sand-water/car-wash-with-water-jets-add-on/