Five sensory water play activities for the home or garden

29-04-2020 Reads 922x

Kids LOVE playing with water, and not only is it fun, it’s also great for their sensory development. Here’s some ideas for five fun water play activities you can easily set up to get your toddler or pre-schooler splish-splashing at home.


Water painting


This is so easy to set up, and loads of fun for kids (you might even be tempted to join in, too!). And the beauty is that any mess will be dried up by the sun!


All you need is a bucket of water, a paintbrush and a small paved area, such as a corner of a patio – or even part of a wooden fence or a brick wall. Your little one will love painting with water, forming shapes, patterns, and maybe even letters if they’re a bit older.


Encourage them to experiment with different ways of ‘painting’, such as filling the brush with water then shaking it out in front of them.


If you’ve a clean plastic paint tray & a foam roller (the kind you use when you’re painting the house), fill it with water and show your toddler or pre-schooler how to paint the floor with the roller – they’ll be able to do some big, bold designs.


And if you’ve any water left at the end, give them a little watering can and let them water the garden for you!


Sensory soup


Making a sensory soup is something you can do either inside or outside, depending on the weather. Just put some water in a container – a paddling pool, or even the lid of a sand pit, is perfect if you’re outside; or a washing-up bowl works well in the house.


Next, choose a theme for your soup: you might choose a colour, or a theme such as ‘flowers’. Gather a variety of objects that match your theme (eg. things that are red, if you’ve chosen ‘red’ as your theme, such as red plastic bricks, pieces of lego, foam letters, pipe cleaners; or a mixture of different flowers, if you’ve chosen ‘flowers’) and put them into the water.


Then give your child some utensils, such as a wooden spoon, a ladle, a whisk, and some plastic bowls. Then watch them enjoy mixing, whisking, and scooping the objects out of the water – just like a giant pan of soup!


If you’re outside, you could also try adding some food colouring to make it extra fun!


Wash day not-so-blues!


This one will kill two birds with one stone – not only will your toddler or pre-schooler have lots of fun, they’ll also be doing something that helps you out practically, too!


Again, find something you can fill with water and a few bubbles, then ask your child to gather everything they want to wash – it might be some toys, or some dolls’ clothes. Whatever they choose, they’ll have lots of fun getting everything nice and clean (though they’ll probably get distracted while washing one of the toys and end up playing with it!).


Float or sink


This is one you can either do in the garden, the kitchen, or even the bath. Collect an assortment of objects from around the house or garden, then simply get your child to guess whether each one will float or sink when it’s placed in the water.


And if they’re a bit older, ask them to guess how many seconds they think it will take something to sink – then tell them what you think, and see who’s closest!


Pouring water


Another one that’s equally good for bath time as it is for garden play, just round-up a collection of different household objects – buckets, bottle tops, scooping cups, food containers, colanders, squeezy bottles – then let your child experiment with what happens when they try and pour water from one to the other.


Finally, remember that it’s never safe to leave children unattended around water, even if it’s really shallow, so always make sure you’re present with your little one whenever they’re doing any sort of water activity.

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