Preschool Water Play Activities
Preschool water play activities are a great way to keep kids entertained while also helping them build important developmental skills. Water play is not only a fun and refreshing way for preschoolers to spend their time, it's also a valuable opportunity for sensory exploration and learning. Many activities can be done both indoors and outdoors, and can be adapted for different ages and skill levels. Below you will find some of our favorite preschool water play activities, suggested equipment and materials, and tips for facilitating safe water play in your program.
Equipment and Material for Water Play
To make the most of water play, having the right water equipment is key. From water tables to water toys, these equipment suggestions will help create an enriching and enjoyable water play experience for your little ones. Considerations for selecting equipment are dependent and based on age, skill level, and group size.
Water Ramps are fun for preschool students. You can build your own using PVC gutters, or purchase ready made units. Students can practice “racing” boats, plastic balls, and foam toys, in the stream.
If a water table isn't in your budget large containers that are typically used for under the bed storage make an excellent alternative.
Some suggested materials for water play include: watering cans, sponges, nets, colanders, water droppers, boats, magnetic fishing set, foam toys, bath toys, plastic measuring cups, small pitchers, spray bottles, clear tubing, funnels, and large kitchen spoons.
Teacher Tip: Visit the kitchen aisle your thrift store, dollar store, and your local hardware store for some fun items to add for water play. Don’t forget to keeps your eyes peeled for bath toys that can be used in sensory bins as well! So many items can be used in water play including plastic animals, counters, and so many other materials you might have in your classroom. The opportunities for water play are endless!
Preschool Water Play Activity Ideas
There are a variety of different types of water play activities, such as sensory play, games, and science experiments, that you can choose from to align with your preschool curriculum and support your student’s development goals. Preschoolers love playing in water so this is a great opportunity to extend their learning and keep them engaged!
Sensory Play Activities
Sensory play involves providing children with opportunities to explore and interact with various materials and objects that engage their senses. The focus is on providing a rich sensory experience that promotes learning, cognitive development, and emotional well-being. Sensory play can involve a wide range of materials such as water, sand, play dough, textured objects, scented items, and more.
Allowing children to explore different textures, temperatures, colors, and sounds, fosters their curiosity and creativity while enhancing their sensory processing skills. Pouring, scooping, blowing bubbles, and feeling different textures are all great ways to incorporate sensory experiences for your preschoolers.
Here are some tips to help you set up meaningful and exciting water play sensory experiences for preschoolers:
Water painting is a fun and creative water play activity that involves painting with brushes and water on a large surface, such as a sidewalk or a fence. This activity helps kids develop their creativity and imagination, as well as their fine motor skills. Plus, it's easy to clean up and doesn't require any special materials. You can even use this activity with homemade chalk paint for added fun!
Car Wash or Toy Wash
Small World Water Play Invitation
If you're unfamiliar with small world play it is similar to dramatic play set-up but on a smaller scale and it's typically used with smaller materials like counters, plastic animals, and pretend people. You can also do this set-up in water play which is always fun with a pond or ocean theme.
Games and Activities for Water Play
Water play games for preschoolers provide a range of developmental benefits. Water games promote social interaction and cooperative play as children collaborate, share toys, and communicate with their peers, fostering important social skills.
The best part is that games can be completely adapted for different ages and skill levels. You can simply change up the rules and requirements but also the equipment that is being used.
Science Experiments with Water
Science experiments with water provide hands-on learning experiences and a way to engage preschoolers in making predictions, taking observations and learning new scientific concepts. There are so many different experiments you can do with your preschoolers that include water!
As you begin doing science experiments with your preschoolers it's important to allow for opportunities where they can pour, mix, and get a hands-on experience. And, don't forget to ask open-ended questions as this is one of the best ways to facilitate and foster observations and critical thinking.
Exploring Color Mixing
Sink and Float
Do you have a classroom garden or plant? If so, grab a few spray bottles and have your preschoolers water the plants with spray bottles or watering cans. Talk to your preschoolers about why plants need water and the importance of watering them.
Tips for Facilitating Safe Water Play
Always provide close and constant supervision whenever preschoolers are near water, whether it's a bathtub, pool, or any other body of water. Never leave them unattended, even for a moment. It's also important to remind preschoolers to keep water inside of the containers, water tables, and bins to prevent accidents with slipping and falling.
We suggest going over safety procedures and having a conversation with your preschoolers about safety and what to do in an emergency before introducing any water play. Talk to your preschoolers about what to do in case of an emergency. And, simple reminders of what safe water play looks like.
Don't forget with your water table comes cleaning and taking care of the equipment to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs.
Water play is a staple in the preschool classroom! And, they are a great way to keep kids entertained while also helping them develop important skills. Whether it's playing with water tables, or painting with water, these activities are easy to set up and can be adapted for different ages and skill levels. Plus, they provide a fun and refreshing way to beat the heat during the summer months.
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