10 Water sensory play ideas for toddlers to do this summer - Kid Activities with Alexa (2024)

Water sensory play is one of my favorite activities to entertain toddlers. Every toddler sensory class I do, I make sure to have a water sensory play idea ready for them. It allows them to clean up after our messy play and engage in some water fun!

Water play is a play that involves water as well as using tools such as buckets, containers, and toys, etc. that allow children to splash, scoop, pour, submerge and explore their senses.

All of these ideas can be used on your water table or using a plastic bon or kiddy pool.

Not only does water play engage children’s sense of fun and delight, but it also has a range of benefits for children’s physical and social development.

Benefits of Water sensory play

  • Water play develops hand-eye coordination
  • Water play introduces maths and scientific concepts
  • Water play enhances concentration and focus
  • Water play develops motor skills and sensory exploration
  • Water play builds social and communication skills

Water sensory play Ideas

10 Water sensory play ideas for toddlers to do this summer - Kid Activities with Alexa (1)

Spice up your water sensory bin by adding water, some baby shampoo and creating bubbles with a hand mixer or electric mixer. We used the hand mixer and added some scented bath bubble bath soap to create bubbles that lasted longer during play.

5 little Ducks Sensory Bin

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When your are short on time you can add some bath toys and water to create a song inspired sensory bin. We added a few (5 drops) of blue food coloring and to turn the water a light blue. Then added 5 rubber duckies and sang 5 little ducks as we played with the water and splashed around.

Note: Remember to seal bath toys squirting hole to prevent water getting inside. Water inside can create mold and can he hazardous if consumed or sprayed into eyes. We use a hot glue gun to seal the holes before playing.

Water science Experiment

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A bowl of water and a few toys will offer you the perfect science experiment. Experiments such as sink or float is an activity that is easy to set up yet offers tons of learning opportunities. Be ready to repeat this activity over and over again as it a favorite for toddlers.

Note: Use a clear container to see throughout and explore those objects that sink down.

Ocean Sensory Bin

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Create an ocean theme by adding ocean animal figurines food coloring and a teaspoon of cornstarch. Cornstarch makes the water thicker and not as translucent so animals that hide under water disappear and the child has to use their sense of touch to find them.

Scooping activity

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Scooping skills is something every toddler needs to practice over and over again. This eye-hand coordination and control if hand muscles is a great pre-writing skill. Use measuring cups, a large container and small toys to scoop up and rescue.

Texture Water Bin

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Adding different textures to a water bin provides sensory exploration and cognitive development as they see how each item reacts to being wet. Do some repel water? absorb water? Bounce? sink? it looks simple but it is a great learning experiment for toddlers to explore.

Color Mixing Water Experiment

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Create 3 water bowls mixed with food coloring. Do one yellow, one red, and one blue. Offer cups of different sizes and encourage your child to mix the colors to create new ones. Yellow and red will make orange. Blue and red will make purple. Yellow and blue will make green.

Eye-Hand Coordination with Balls

Fill up a kid pool or container with water and balls. Provide your child with two measuring cups and encourage her to scoop the balls and transfer them around.

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Funnels, Big/small containers play

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This one doesn’t have a cute name but just adding some color water in a pitcher and providing different tools to pour the water around makes for a fun day with water. We placed a large container under all the tools to catch any water that didn’t make into the funnel or was splashed around. After all, this eye-hand coordination can be tricky for some. As they lift the different containers with water they are strengthening their hands, fingers and precision skills.

Melting Ice with Salt

And for our last water based activity we are melting ice with warm water and ice. Perfect for a hot summer day when the sun helps speed up the process of melting as well as the salt.

I colored the salt in a bag with a few drops of food coloring and mixing it around. Then gave them small spoons to sprinkle the salt over the ice. This is another great eye-hand coordination skill.

Note: Place the salt on the left and the bin on the right. This will work on a left-right motion of the hand;a mimic to writing later on making this activity a per-writing skill water based activity.

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Last Thoughts

Water is a favorite activity for many toddlers. Take advantage of hot summer days to create different water based activities. Use ice, food coloring and lots of different size containers to create different learning experiences. Let the child dictate how to investigate with each activity as they are little scientist discovering the world around them. And lastly! have fun!

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10 Water sensory play ideas for toddlers to do this summer - Kid Activities with Alexa (2024)
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