June 22, 2020

Water Play Ideas for Early Learning

Today we feature 18 epic water play ideas for early years! It's the perfect time to get a little wet (or a lot wet) because summer time is here. In this list you'll find a broad list of activities. From educational water table activities to just-for-the-fun-of-it ideas. 

But the real goal is to have fun and introduce new experiences to your toddler or preschooler. Kids love water play and these activities are super engaging and ones that we believe they'll love.  

We have ideas for kids that love animals and color and boats. Others that include sensory elements like ice and slime. Most of these ideas you can put together with things from around the house.

Water Play Ideas for Early Years Pin

So pull out your water tables or plastic bins and fill them with water and get ready to have a splashin' good time with your little one.

Big List of Water Play Ideas for Early Years

Some of Our Favorite Water Play Ideas

Ice Bin Transfer

An ice bin water table is a really easy activity. Simply take two plastic bins, fill one with some water, and one with a sizable amount of ice cubes. Give your child a large plastic spoon (a slotted spoon is best), and have them transfer the ice cubes into the water. When they're all done, if they're still engaged, have them transfer the ice cubes out of the water with a slotted spoon back into the empty bin!

Squeezable Colorful Water Play

For a different set of motor skills, fill a few squeeze bottles with water and add a different color food coloring to each. Let your child squeeze each color into the water table as they see fit, and they'll have a blast!

One-Step Slime

Does your kid like slime? There are just-add-water slime kits out there that are an easy addition to a water table activity. You can put plastic toys in the slime for them to grab, with tongs, a slotted spoon, or just bare-handed for an extra sensory element.

Soda Bottle Boats

If your family drinks a lot of soda, you can make cute boats for your child's water table. Cut off the bottom of the bottle, sand down any rough edges, and if you want to get really fancy, you can add a straw for a mast and some fun foam for a flag at the top!

Sensory Soup

Another simple water table idea uses reusable plastic shaped ice cubes. These come in various shapes and colors, and you don't even need to freeze them to get them to float in the water. Get an assortment of bowls or cups the same colors as the plastic shapes. Give your little one a set of tongs or a slotted spoon, and have them pick or scoop the shapes out of the water and put them in the bowl or cup in the corresponding color.

Ocean Sensory Table

For a more eclectic sensory experience, you can create a whole ocean shore for your child's water table. Gather some pebbles or shells for the beach part, pour some water in, and then let them play with the different textures and whatever toys they would like to join in the fun.

Number Fishing

If your child is learning numbers, a good way to make counting a bit more fun is with a fishing game. Draw numbers on some fun foam, cut them into fish shapes, and add them to the water table. Have your child pluck them out with tongs or a slotted spoon in number order.

Animal Wash

A great way to teach life skills along with motor skills is to add soapsuds to your water table. Gather any toy animals or other hard plastic toys that need a bath and let your little one clean them! Have a rinse bin or a cup with clean water handy, and a towel to dry off the toys. And don't forget to have a place to put the clean ones!

Duck Pond

Add rubber ducks to the water table with other elements to play with. Use driftwood pieces, aquarium plants, or pebbles for lots of different textures and things that both float and sink to make a nice duck pond.

Alphabet Soup

If you have some plastic alphabet magnets on the fridge, you can turn them into an alphabet soup game with a water table. Simply place them in the water and have your child scoop them out to spell simple words. A younger child can just scoop at random to work on motor skills.

Even More Water Play Ideas for Early Years

Here are a few more water play ideas that we loved. Some of these are similar to other ideas but have a twist to them. Plus we hope that these ideas will really inspire your to come up with some ideas of your own. 

About the author 

Preschool Home Activities

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