Water is one of the easiest and most rewarding sensory play activities for young children. If you live in an area where the summer days can get quite hot, you may find your toddler being grumpy and agitated. A bit of fun water play will help them to cool off and calm down.
Why is Water Important for Toddlers
Playing with water can teach your little one many different things. Water play is open-ended with no right or wrong way of doing things. It allows babies and toddlers to explore different concepts with reckless abandon! Here are five more benefits of water play for toddlers.
1. Cause and Effect
What happens when I throw something in the water? Does it sink or float? What happens when I tip the cup over? Does the water stay in the cup?
2. Imagination Development
It’s not just a tub of water, it’s an ocean full of sea animals, or a shipyard with boats coming to and fro. Perhaps it’s a pet parlor where all the animals are coming for a wash. Water activities for toddlers are incredibly valuable pretend play.
3. Boost Language Skills
While your toddler is playing with the water, they are figuring out new concepts and building their vocabulary. Does this truck float or sink? Is the jug empty, full, or half-full?
4. Stimulate Problem-solving
How do I keep the water from spilling out of the cup? Do I hold it sideways or with the opening at the top?
5. Develop Fine Motor Skills
Scooping water, washing toys, squeezing rags and sponges; these activities are all fantastic for strengthening those little muscles in their tiny hands.
Eight Water Activities to Do with Toddlers
You don't need any fancy gadgets. All you need is a big tub of water and a few props. Get your little ones splashing and learning with these fun water activities for toddlers.
1. Spa Day at the Pet Parlor
Time to give all those plastic animals a good scrub. Get your toddler to gather their toy animals and plop them in a big tub of water. Give them a scrubbing brush and a face cloth to give their animals a thorough cleaning. You can use a toothbrush, bottle brush, nail brush, or all of the above!
2. Make Garden Soup
Take a stroll through the garden with your little one to pick ingredients for making garden soup. Then place a few sizeable mixing bowls and a jug or two of water out for your toddler to make up their own garden soup recipes.
3. Mix Colored Water
This is one of the best water activities for toddlers. Place an assortment of plastic containers in a large oven tray or storage container. Fill them with water and a few drops of different color food coloring in each one. Add funnels, squeeze bottles, plastic pipettes, and sieves to the mix. Encourage your toddler to mix different colors together to see the effect.
4. Squeeze sponges
Simply throw a few sponges into a bucket of water and let your toddler have at it. Squeezing water from a sponge is great for strengthening their hand muscles for fine motor skills. You can add a few bowls to the mix and ask them to fill a bowl by squeezing water from a sponge into it.
5. Car Wash
Add a bit of soap to the water and let your little ones wash their toy cars.
6. Colorful Ice Cubes
This activity takes a little premeditation, but it is worth it! Make different colored ice cubes to add to a container of water for your baby to play with and watch the melting process. This is one of the best water activities for babies on those hot summer days.
7. Let’s go Fishing
Place some toy fish or any plastic animals in a big tub or little kiddies' pool and give them a fishing net to try and scoop out the toys.
8. Paint with Water
Give your toddler a large paintbrush and/or paint roller and a bucket of water. They can paint pictures, numbers, or shapes on the sidewalk or paved areas around your home.
Time to Get Splashing!
These water activities for toddlers are so easy to put together and will give your little one hours of constructive fun. There are heaps more fantastic water activities for babies and toddlers. Just grab a tub of water, and a few props, and let your imagination run wild.