Have you heard of the sponge bucket game? We never had either. Oh the entertainment it provides!
The game is a relay: two teams, two empty buckets, two sponges. One water source (in our case, a freshwater inlet 20 meters from the sea) and limitless opportunity for innovation.
As more and more grades participate, we’re astounded by the creative techniques students employ to fill up the buckets, aside from using the sponges we provide.
Shirts and shorts are saturated—students awkwardly squat so that their shorts absorb the most water in the 1-foot deep inlet—and rung out over the buckets. Next, shirts are usually taken off the boys, with girls shrieking at them of course, shook out in the water, again for maximum absorption, and carefully (or not so carefully if speed-to-the-bucket is the number one priority of the particular student) taken to the buckets and wrung out until close to dry (or not so close to dry, again, if speed is the utmost priority, which it usually is, so we laugh at the water that fails to get into the buckets—which is usually most of the shirt’s capacity).
One boy found a Coke bottle on the beach, which obviously helped his team’s bucket pull ahead, but the bottle was taken out of the game because the one rule we do enforce is that each team has equal opportunity, and only one Coke bottle was to be found. (Note: the bottle was properly picked up afterwards in a thorough beach cleanup).
There were two swim noodles, however, and the siphon-minded students soon discovered that noodles can hold quite a bit of nam (water in Thai). There were also multiple mouths, and one grade filled theirs to the point of swallowing balloons. Resourcefulness at its finest!
Once water reaches a bucket’s brim at last, most students take their first deep inhale in over ten minutes and realize that they’ve traded bucket alliances in the process—their concentration on WATER INTO BUCKET is that intense. Hearty laughs culminate every game.
For the students not keen to swim in the ocean after their one-on-one instructor time, this game provides ample wave-free fun in the shallow, freshwater inlet. Earthraging occurs in all aquatic forms, regardless of salinity or depth.