What you need:
With a continuing desire to get Cakes outside and moving (she is more of an indoor bookworm) we are continually trying to improve the backyard with practical activities she can interact with at any time by herself. I had been collecting drink bottles for sometime (we were given a soda stream a few years back and with my preference for cans we don't buy many bottled drinks) with no intended purpose. After looking at possible designs for water/ball run I decided that I was not ready for a project using drain piping as yet and needed to build up to it. So after seeing this post on Inkerlab, I decided the bottles would have a purpose. Cakes and I set out cutting the middles out of the bottles (well she handed me the bottles as I was ready for each one and ran the rubbish to the bin). I then collected a hammer and some nails. This was a bust as the wood on this very old gate was too hard to hammer through. I considered moving to another fence with softer wood though decided this would not be approved by Daddy. My husband has a very large dislike for wipersnipers and finds it extremely difficult to mow close enough to the fences if I place too much in the way of the handle such as on our music wall (post to come). As he was not home I anticipated his suggestion to use the drill and screws, so I put it on charge to work on the next morning. Cakes and I headed out with the drill and the screws and it appeared I was not strong enough to get through the hard wood. With a cute smile and a really nice "peease Daddy" Cakes headed inside and Daddy was more than happy to help. Within ten minutes there was an awesome bottle marble and water run. Once this was put together Cakes spent enough time to send every marble my husband and I had as children threw the bottles. The delight on her face was so precious. We had many discussions about the marbles travelling, why they changed direction and how they were moving down the bottles. Cakes also included discussion around colour and number. So proud of her desire to extend her learning no matter what the situation.
First thing the next day Cakes wanted to play with her "bottles". This time I encouraged her to use water (despite it being a cold winter morning), as I offered her the choice of coloured water it wasn't too hard to convince her. Trying not to assume I headed for the yellow food colouring as she called out "yellow peease Mummy" (great to know she has a favourite colour). I convinced her to put on an apron to cover her pyjamas though this didn't last too long as we were in direct sunlight she needed her jumper off and then there was no chance of getting the apron back on. She spilt very little water on the front of her clothes, most of it was in her hair and over her back as she tipped the cup up to the top bottle almost out of her reach. The conversation was mostly about the speed of the water and how the bottles looked yellow as the water ran through them. This activity was left outside all day and Cakes returned to it many times until all the water had been spilt out on the grass. Cakes requested to use blue colouring next time with the yellow. I am looking forward to pouring the two different colours from different sides and watching them mix together. Cakes knows all the names for the colours and is interested in how colours change when you mix them. I am hoping this will give her a hands on experience to see how primary colours can form secondary colours. Watch this space, once we do this I will add it so we can show you if it works for us or not.