Squeezable and colorful water play

Throughout our first week of school, we continued to explore the various tools we use in preschool. One of the tools that we use often in our classroom are these plastic condiment bottles…

We usually keep paint in our bottles (which we purchased from Walmart) but for today, we put colored water in the bottles and placed them on the window ledge next to our water table…

The goal of this process was to give the children an opportunity to explore and squeeze the bottles. As the school year progresses, we will set these bottles out filled with paint for the children to add their own paint to different painting projects or processes we try…

For today, we invited the children to squeeze the colored water into our water table tubs.  The children took the bottles off of the window ledge and boy, oh boy did the children love this process…

The children had to learn how to take the little cap off the end of their bottles and place the cap on a holder which is attached to the lid of the bottles.  It didn’t take long for the children to figure out how to open the bottles and squeeze that water right out!…

I will definitely set these out again for the water table this year but perhaps work on specific colors for color mixing. For today, I wanted the focus on just squeezing the bottles so we didn’t worry that the color turned a greenish color in the end.  The children definitely didn’t care either…

The play continued long after the water turned green.  The children spent time exploring different ways they can use the lids and bottles to squeeze water into the water table or even from bottle to bottle…

If you are thinking that this would be too much water for your classroom, then take this process outdoors!

I can’t wait to share squeezable water play with my students again…

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Here are other fun ideas for water play on Pinterest!

By |2017-05-22T13:11:21+00:00September 2nd, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Vicky September 2, 2012 at 11:26 am - Reply

    How did you make the colored water? Food coloring? Liquid watercolors? Love the visual. I have looked for those bottles at the dollar store but they are red and yellow. Will have to check out Walmart and get a bunch. Pinning this now. Vicky from http://www.messforless.net

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 2, 2012 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      We just added food color to the water. We do this all the time and have no problems with it:)

  2. Julia September 2, 2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    Do they not try to squirt each other with the water? Did you have to stay right with them?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 2, 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

      I didn’t stay with the children and they were more interested in squeezing the bottles into the tubs and refilling the tubs then squirting each other. If someone started to squeeze away from the tubs, I simply reminded them to please keep the water pointed towards the tub 🙂

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 2, 2012 at 12:32 pm

        But I also want to mention that it is only water and it will easily dry or can be dried up. As the children are given the opportunity to play and explore processes like this, they will be more engaged and constructive with their play. It is an important part of the preschool experience. My students loved it and I think others will too!

  3. Cathy @nurturestore September 2, 2012 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    This looks fun! Colour mixing is a great idea.

  4. Heidi Butkus September 3, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Did they squirt each other? That would be my main concern, LOL!
    Looks like fun!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm - Reply

      Ah, come on Heidi – you know a little squirting will dry up sooner or later:) But to answer your question, suprisingly, the children remained mostly focused on exploring the bottles rather than getting each other wet 🙂

      • Heidi Butkus September 3, 2012 at 11:01 pm

        Very true, Deborah! But squirting each other looks like it would be mighty tempting, LOL! If your kids stuck mostly to squirting the water into the tubs, then you must have a great group of cooperative kids! And a little water on the floor doesn’t hurt, as long as nobody slips and falls.
        Now with 28 kindergarten kids in the room, I am picturing a possible water fight breaking out while I am attempting to teach a reading group in the corner. Darn it anyway! It makes me wish I could teach preschool instead, because I am sure that this activity would be perfect for a smaller group like yours!

      • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 4, 2012 at 7:32 am

        Perhaps someday, when you aren’t tied up with a reading group, you will find it to be idea that you can try and “squeeze” into your day!

  5. Nicole September 4, 2012 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    This looks like a great idea! We don’t have a water table but could certainly take it outside with tubs or on the sidewalk. Thanks for sharing!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. September 5, 2012 at 12:04 am - Reply

      Absolutely Nicole!!

  6. Kaitlin February 28, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    I really want to try something like this with my preschool class. Did you have any problems with the dyed water staining clothes? My classroom does not have water jackets.

    • Courtney Floyd February 28, 2013 at 8:29 pm - Reply

      Hi, Kaitlin! We use washable liquid watercolors from Discount School Supply. We have not had any trouble with them staining clothes.

  7. Janelle Durham July 10, 2018 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    What a fun idea! (And good to know that clothes staining is not an issue.) I’ve included a link to it in my Ultimate Guide to Sensory Tables. https://inventorsoftomorrow.com/2018/07/10/water-tables/

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