With summer right around the corner, it’s not too early to think about water play activities with toddlers. Young children (and bigger ones!) love splashing in the water. They won’t know that they’re also learning while they’re having fun.
These activities will keep your toddlers busy while cooling them down. Just be sure not to leave a toddler alone with a water-based activity; young children can drown in less than two inches of water.
Transferring Water Skills
My girls love to fill their plastic tea pot with water and then pour water into cups to play tea party. This activity can build mathematical skills as they learn to estimate how much water they’ll need to fill their cups, and it improves their small motor skills.
If your child is too young for this activity, he can practice filling a sponge with water and pouring it out over the desired object he wants to fill. As a bonus, you can then use the sponge to clean up the water he spills!
To reduce the mess, I often put a towel underneath so they spill on a towel, not the table.
Coloring a Flower
This is a fun activity that never fails to fascinate children. Buy a few white roses or carnations. Fill three or four different containers with water and a few drops of food coloring. (Use only one color per container.) Snip off the end of the flower stem (just a little bit), and put it in the container. Continue to check every few hours to see how the flower is changing color.
You could take this experiment one step further by splitting the stem in half length-wise starting at the bottom and stopping about four inches below the flower. Put two glasses right next to each other, one with water, and one with water and food coloring. Your child will be surprised to see what happens.
This is a great activity to begin to teach children about science and how flowers absorb water. You can also talk with your child before the experiment begins and ask her what she thinks will happen and why.
Eye Dropper Painting
When you’re done with the water used to color the flowers, don’t throw it away. Instead, give your children eye droppers and let them fill the eye dropper with the colored water and drop it onto a coffee filter. As they rotate colors, they’ll create a pretty painting.
What are your favorite indoor water activities to do with young children?