One of our favorite things to do on walks and in parks is to collect rocks. Pulling these rocks inside for activities and further exploration is a better use of the never-ending collection than sitting on the floor of our car and gathered in our pockets.
On your walk, collect rocks. Bring them inside and have your little one(s) prepare materials to clean your rocks. We spread towels on the floor in our kitchen. Then we filled up a shallow Tupperware with water and squirted in some soap. Our toddlers love to help "make bubbles" by splashing around the water.
When the thrill of splashing water waned, I demonstrated washing the rocks. Putting one in the tub. Scrubbing it with a sponges and then drying it off with a towel. For our younger toddlers, when they got involved this became a half washing/half splashing in water play time with which I was okay. They enjoyed themselves and explored the texture of the rocks we had found. Older children could focus a little more on actually getting the rocks clean.
Lots of dry towels and possibly a change of clothes are all that is needed for clean up here. The water was dumped in the sink. The rocks were laid out on a towel to dry. The floor was dried with a couple of towels, along with our hands, legs, etc.
Bucket, Bowl, or Shallow Tub
Soap (we used Johnson & Johnson baby wash)
Sponges and/or Wash Cloths
Bathmat or Towels
* Wash Seashells or other collections
* Use your now clean collection for other activities such as this
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