Ten terrific ways to get the most out of water play

Water play is one of the best ways to invite young children to explore, discover, and learn new skills

To keep water play interesting and constructive, we have gathered ten terrific ways to get the most out of water play…

Water Play Tubs of all Sizes and Shapes

A water table is always a great piece of equipment to promote water play experiences but it is always a good idea to move water play outside of the water table and into a variety of different sized and shaped containers. Switching up the types of containers that you use to hold water brings new interest in the water play experience. Take our one-inch water play, for example. Both large and small containers can spark new interest in the water play experience…

Tools for Water Play

Water, just by itself, can be quite entertaining for young children but adding interesting tools will spark new interest in water play for children of all ages.  Spoons, ladles, colanders, funnels, strainers, cups, bowls, and pitchers are all great tools to have out at the water table. These types of tools invite children to use their imagination for making things like alphabet sensory soup or lid soup

Touch and Feel Water Play

Adding materials to the water that children can touch, feel, and strain through the water brings a new dimension of interest into the water play experience. Water beads are one of our favorite additions to water play!  These slippery, squishy little balls are always a favorite with our children.  They are available in a variety of sizes and colors to create a wonderful world of water bead play



Colorful Water Play

Adding color to your water creates another layer of interest and gives children the opportunity to explore color mixing, color recognition and build on their vocabulary and understanding around color. Our children love when we add squeeze bottles to the water table for squeezable and colorful water play.  We have also experimented with a colored water play station, featuring jugs of water, cups, and pipettes for children to mix and pour their own colors…

Scented Water Play

Adding fragrance to your water play creates another multi-sensory experience.  We explored our sense of smell with fruity and fragrant tea water play

Sounds of Water Play

Make a water play listening station by adding musical instruments to the water play experience…

Or by setting out jars of water for the children to fill up and tap out sounds

Motor Skill Water Play

Build motor skills and concentration by adding some foaming hand soap dispensers to your water tub and your children will be all pumped up for water play

Pretend Play with Water Play

A few bubbles along with baby dolls, cars, or dishes invite lots of fun pretend play as the children pretend to wash baby dolls or dishes or run their cars through a car wash…

Scientific Water Play

Why not bring a little science into your water play by exploring what will sink float?  Or experiment with different materials to create simple boats that float in water. And try a little balloon water science too…

Nature in Water Play

Adding items from nature to your water play table or tubs always sparks new interest in the water play experience and gives children the opportunity to explore and examine natural materials more closely. We love to examine all kinds of items from nature as you can see here in our Sink or Float: an exploration of nature

A few tips on WaterPlay

1. Remember to keep towels handy for placing under your water-tubs or to soak up water that lands on the floor.

2. Take water play outdoors and indoors and make it available all throughout the year.

3. Give children the freedom to explore water play using their own ideas and imagination.

4. Know the age of your students and gear what you place in the water table to meet their needs, interests, and developmental readiness for play and exploration.

What Children are Learning through Water Play

1. Water play promotes daily living skills such as pouring, scooping, and washing.

2. Water play invites imagination and promotes conversation and communication with each other.

3. Water play builds on concepts in all content areas from math, science, language, storytelling, dramatic play, music, and more. Keep water play open-ended and yet learn to observe the learning that is taking place through the different materials, tools, and resources you add to your water play experiences.

The Benefits of Water Play

Water play is a wonderful way for young children to express their interests, needs, and feelings. Water play can help young children relax and unwind as it can be a soothing experience for the young child. Although it can seem like work for the adult to have to soak up water from the floor or to change out wet clothing, the benefits for young children are worth all the efforts you make to give young children lots of water play experiences.

Available on Amazon

Deborah J Stewart

Deborah J Stewart

Every time I think I know everything I need to know about teaching young children, God says, "Hold on a minute!" and gives me a new challenge.

Let me tell ya...

With each new challenge that you overcome, you will find yourself better equipped and more passionate about teaching young children.

God didn't call wimps to lead, teach, or care for His children. Nope, he has high expectations, so get ready. You will have to give your very best but after teaching for over 30 years, I can tell you that it is a wonderful and rewarding journey.

Whenever your calling feels hard, just remember, 'He who began a good work in you (and in the children you serve) will be faithful to complete it.'

Subscribe to My Newsletter

Latest Blog Posts

P is for Pizza!

While learning about the letter “P” we decided to explore with pizza! Pizza is an all-time favorite food for many preschoolers, and activities involving pizza

Read More »