One-inch water play

Any kind of water play brings with it lots of opportunities for discovery, learning, and just plain old fun. We spend a lot of time enjoying what I like to call one-inch water play. Perhaps we have a little more than one-inch of water in the tub at times but it doesn’t take much water in a tub for a two year old to have fun…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

As a quick way to give my grandson time for water play, we often set out small tubs with one inch (or more) of water along with a variety of toys or other objects…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

You could actually also call this “loose parts water play” because anything that is loose and that we can stick in the water for play, goes in the water for play…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

As my grandson is pouring or transferring from one container to another, he is developing important eye-hand, fine-motor skills, and critical thinking skills without feeling under pressure to get the skills just right every time. The more he can practice the skill of pouring or transferring, the more skilled and confident he becomes…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

Of course, there is always the temptation to throw the loose parts (depending on what they are) out of the tub but as he learns that the loose parts are supposed to stay in the tub or by the tub, he is beginning to develop important self-regulation skills that will be used in all areas of future play…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

When planning for one-inch water play, I use whatever tub I have on hand and change up what goes into the water. Adding dishes and a wash cloth to soapy water gives my grandson the chance to wash the dishes. While he is washing the dishes (or tractors), we can build vocabulary by using words such as bubbles, soap, wash rag, scrubbing, dishes, plates, and so on…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

For my grandson, water play is really all about getting wet first and foremost but it has gradually turned into being more about building knowledge. The what happens if I do this kind of knowledge…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool

This type of open ended play is fostering a desire for scientific exploration and discovery which he will continue to need all throughout his preschool years…

One Inch Water Play by Teach Preschool


By |2013-07-21T12:03:30+00:00July 21st, 2013|

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. Jackie Higgins July 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Such an important point about using water play to build vocabulary! And your grandson is as cute as always— looks like you are having a fun summer together.

  2. Lindsey Whitney July 22, 2013 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Very fun! We did a “Three Little Mittens” day and washed our mittens this week and the kids loved it!

    Lindsey at Growing Kids Ministry

  3. Jamie July 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    Love the little bins that hold the water…where are they from?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 23, 2013 at 12:16 am - Reply

      I got some of them from Michaels last year and others from our local school supply store.

  4. Jackie July 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    This is a great activity and I love how much learning is involved with something so simple.

    Also, look how big your little guy is getting. I think he and my little girl are just about the same age. These 2+ years have flown by for me and my blogging has gone way down. However, my kiddos are worth spending time with even if it means I don’t have the readership I once did. Take care. 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. July 23, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

      Hi Jackie,
      What a pleasure to hear from you – it’s been quite awhile and time has flown by! I agree, spending time with your children during this precious years must take priority!

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