Pouring in preschool and why we do it!

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Ways to help your students build essential skills in preschool

As I plan for a new school year, I am thinking through some of the life skills that I want my students to work on through out the school year. There are many life skills that we can promote though out the school year but today, I want to talk about pouring and why we do it…

I’ll bet you have heard parents or teachers say, “If I let the children pour it, they will spill it!”  Yep! Nine times out of ten this will be true. Young children are developing the skill of pouring and in the process of developing and mastering their pouring skills, they will most likely have a few spill-overs along the way.  However, in order for young children to master their ability to pour they first need to be given ample opportunities to practice their pouring skills…

Why is Pouring Important?

As children develop their skills to pour, they are also developing other types of skills. Let’s take a look at a few of those skills along with the photos I am sharing to see the different ways children can explore the pouring process…

Critical Thinking Skills

As children pour they have to think about how fast to pour, how long to pour, how far to turn the spout, when it is time to stop pouring which helps with mathematical and scientific thinking too…


As children pour they are becoming aware that they can make decisions such as whether to stop pouring or to just keep on pouring and that their decisions will result in natural consequences…

Spacial Awareness

As children pour they begin to gain a better understanding of the amount of space they have to work with and how much water or sand or other is needed to fill up a cup or container and how much is too much…

Eye-Hand Coordination

As children pour they are strengthening their ability to control the flow of what they pour and they are developing their ability to be more concise in their pouring so they can master pouring into smaller spaces, opening, and containers…


As children pour they are developing their ability to take care of tasks on their own like serving their own snack and pouring their own cup of juice…

Providing Opportunities to Pour

Eye-Hand Coordination, Critical Thinking Skills, Self-Regulation, Spacial Awareness, Independence: These are all pretty important skills to nurture throughout the school year and the best way to promote these skills is by giving young children opportunities to explore the pouring process.  Pouring can be explored through simple opportunities such as playing in the water table or sand table and even through dramatic play.

Pouring can also be explored through more structures opportunities such as pouring a cup of juice or water for snack, inviting the children to participate in cooking activities, and allowing children to pour their own paint or glue in preparation for an art activity…

And of course, opportunities to develop strong skills in pouring can be promoted both through indoor and outdoor play and exploration as well as age appropriate tasks and responsibilities…

Providing Tools to Pour

Of course, if you are going to promote pouring, you will need to provide plenty of containers for pouring. Containers can be found around the house like an empty salt box or empty water bottles…

Or you can purchase a variety of child-sized containers such as pitchers and cups for pouring…

As I make my plans for next school year, I want to make sure I have included in those plans lots of opportunities for pouring along with a variety of tools for pouring play! Perhaps you have other ideas to promote pouring skills. I’d love to hear what your students enjoy in the classroom or your child enjoys at home. Just leave a comment below….

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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.'

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