Water play for preschoolers and even babies is THE BEST!! It’s incredibly enriching and keeps kids busy for a looooong time! Big kids love water play too (especially if, GASP, they’re allowed to splash!). Not to mention water play is super easy to set up and you already have everything you need for it!
If you need to buy yourself a minimum of 20 minutes, water play is the answer! My babies have spent many “mama’s making dinner” moments on the kitchen floor with a towel, a cookie sheet of water (less than an inch deep for the babies!), and a few measuring spoons.
When dinner is almost finished, I just use the towel to wipe up the floor- yes, that totally counts as mopping- and change the baby into fresh clothes!
Water Play for Preschoolers and Big Kids: DIY Pouring Station
Water play activities keep preschoolers and big kids engaged for quite some time (yes, longer than 20 minutes!) if you set it up right! What do you need to make this magic happen?
Water play activities can be as simple as you want or they can involve even more opportunities for sensory exploration. To get you started right away, these are the basics of a DIY pouring station:
- A large plastic bin (i.e. under bed box), your sink, or an outdoor space
- 5-10 plastic cups, bowls, and containers of various sizes
- A plastic jug or pitcher (optional)
- Food coloring (optional)
A quick, but important word of caution: supervise. Always supervise your kids around water, especially the youngest ones!
This activity is a simple one to set up! Just fill a few of the containers with water and let your child pour the water back and forth between the containers. If you don’t have a large bin in which your child can play, be ready to replace the water regularly.
Give them LOTS of time for free play here. Pour, pour, pour, splash, splash, splash! Don’t interrupt unless you have to! After they’ve had some good times pouring, playing, and splashing, you can introduce the idea of pouring water into a cup.
Coach kids gently towards the end of keeping the water inside the containers instead of letting it spill over. One example of this would be to pour from a jug/pitcher into a cup. Let them try it and help them know when to stop before the water flows over.
A Few More Thoughts on Water Play for Preschoolers and Big Kids
Water play is excellent sensory play for preschoolers and big kids. Most kids tolerate it very well if the water is temperate or even slightly warm.
Kids who get to play with water in pitchers and cups will be able to pour their own drinks before your know it!
Consider adding some food coloring to this water play activity for preschoolers and big kids!
It instantly becomes an opportunity for color exploration. Create blue water in one container, and red in another, then help your child notice what happens when the colors are mixed.
Add in a container of yellow water to create even more secondary colors!
Water play for preschoolers and big kids is fun for learning, playing, and being together. It’s affordable, easy to clean up, and kids love doing it again and again!
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