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There’s something oddly calming about a simple act of splashing water everywhere, isn’t it? For kids, water play activities present the perfect opportunity to actively explore with all their senses, enhance fine and gross motor skills, and have fun while doing so.
Babies can start playing with water right out of the womb. As they grow older and consequently, develop better hand-eye coordination, you can introduce them to a whole new bunch of engaging water play activities involving STEM toys, water guns, sprinklers, sponges, etc.
If you are looking for water play ideas that are a perfect combination of learning and entertainment, you have landed on just the right page. Here are 8 wicked good water play activities kids won’t be able to stop playing –
Water Relay Race
How about kicking off the list with something the whole family can enjoy? Relay races are fun and adding a sprinkler in the mix takes it to a whole new level. To play this game, you need a sprinkler, of course, along with some sponges and a few buckets.
Divide the players into two groups, hand each group a bucket and a sponge. Here’s how it’s done – the players of each team go back and forth through the sprinkler, carrying the sponge over the head, allowing it to soak the water, and then squeeze it into the bucket. Whichever team fills up the bucket first wins.
If you don’t have a sprinkler, no worries. Just place one bucket full of water at the starting point and one at the finishing point. The players have to dunk the sponge in water, run to the second bucket and fill it. As simple as that!
Make Your Own Sprinkler
Next up, we have some science-y stuff for your toddlers. Don’t have a sprinkler but want one? Make it yourself. All you need them to do is poke some holes on both sides of a soda bottle, attach the garden hose to it, turn it on, and voila!
If the hose clip doesn’t fit the mouth of the water, use a mini blow torch to soften the plastic and then attach the clip. That should do the trick.
Floatie Relay Race
Summer vacations are incomplete without some pool time. Spice up the pool party for the little ones by encouraging them to participate in this cool game called floatie relay race. Minimum two players are required for this to work but the more, the merrier.
Basically, two teams have to race each other to the finishing line on their floaties. Each player completes one lap, tags another player on the starting line, then they get on the floatie and start padding. The race continues until all the players in the team swim one lap.
The winner is the team whose last player gets to the starting line first. If you don’t have a floatie on hand but are planning to get one, here’s a definitive guide to the right floaties for 1-year-olds you might want to check out.
Playing with Ice Fish
Playing with ice fish is an easy and engaging activity for preschoolers and toddlers. You need ice-shaped fish strays, some water, and food coloring, a tray, and a tiny fishing net to get started.
Just pour some water in the fish-shaped ice tray, add a few drops of any color you fancy, and put it in the freezer for a few hours. Demold the fish ice cubes, put them in a tray, and tell the kids to catch as many fish as they can with their fishing net before they all melt away. The vivid colors, melting ice fishes, the rush to catch ‘em all before they melt away will keep your kids engrossed for a good few minutes.
You can even use it as an opportunity to teach them a thing to two about the solid and liquid state of water.
Fun Ice Excavation
Here’s one more amazing fine motor skill and sensory development activity for preschoolers. Simply add some small toys, craft items, confetti in a large bowl, fill it with water to the brim, and freeze. To demold the ice block, run some warm water through it, and once it pops out, place it in a plastic container.
Give the kids some toy tools like tongs, tweezers, shovels to dig through the ice and excavate the toys. You can also give them a bowl of warm water and some droppers to help speed up the melting process.
Making garden soup used to be one of my favorite summertime activities. To set up the garden “soup station”, you will need a large soup pot, some large bowls, ladle, tongs, tweezers, and scissors to get started.
Let the kids pluck and snip flower petals, twigs, grasses, weeds from the garden, plop them into the water, stir, and serve in cups and bowls. Each kid in the group gets to take turns deciding on what goes in the concoction.
Squeezing the Sponge Balls
This one’s the easiest water play activity on this list so far and is a huge hit among the kids at my daycare. Just give a handful of sponge balls (the larger, the better) or pompoms and two buckets – one full of water and one empty.
Ask them to dunk the sponge in the water and sequeeeeeeeeeze them into the empty bucket.
Alternatively, instead of using a bucketful of water, you can let the kids do the same activity in the pool with some colorful sponges. It’s a great little exercise for improving grip strength.
Glowing Galaxy Water Bin
This space-themed sensory activity is a fun way to introduce kids to the wonders of space. You will need tons of glitter, watercolor, glow sticks, marbles, some bottles, syringes, droppers, a large plastic bin, and a funnel to create the galaxy.
The kids can fill the bottles with the help of a syringe and funnel, throw in a handful of marbles, their choice of colors, and glow sticks.
I have seen preschoolers spending hours figuring out things like how many marbles or glow sticks they can fit in the water, mixing different colors to come up with different shades, and so on.
Conclusion – It’s All Fun & Games
Water play at the early developmental stage is important in more ways than one. From improving hand-eye coordination to encouraging language and social skill development – a few simple water play activities can do wonders for your junior without boring them to death.
So, take some ideas from the list above and you will not hear the words ” I Am Bored” for a while
If you liked these, check out The 20 Best of the Best Summer Activities for Toddlers.