Water Play


Endless fun with water

Many children like playing with water whether it’s splashing in the sink when washing hands, playing at bath time or having fun in a paddling pool in the back garden. Water is fascinating to children and is appropriate to all ages.

Water play offers many opportunities to introduce your child to new words.

Here are some words that you can say when playing with water with your child:

  • Rhyming words: splish splash splosh, drip drop drip drop
  • Action words: pouring, emptying, dripping, splashing, spilling
  • Describing words: cold, wet, damp, soaking, full, empty, sparkling, bubbly
  • Having fun with rhymes and songs about rain and water as you play: Incy Wincy Spider; Rain rain go away come again another day; Row row your boat; It’s raining it’s pouring
child playing with water

Have a look at our water play ideas:

  • In a washing up bowl or larger tub offer different sized containers and jugs for your child. They will enjoy pouring the water and filling and emptying containers. This develops hand eye coordination as well as strength in shoulders, arms and wrists. You can talk about the jugs and containers being full, half full, empty, overflowing, heavy. This supports early understanding of measuring and capacity.
  • Watering the garden – a good opportunity to talk about what plants need to grow, and which watering can holds most water, how far can the hose spray and so on.
  • Collect some objects and put them in a bowl of water to see if they float or sink. Encourage your child to watch carefully what happens. Your child could collect their own objects to try and ask them to predict what will happen. This encourages your child to ‘have a go’ and try something new and to make a guess about what will happen. It doesn’t matter whether they guess correctly or not - it encourages your child to test out their ideas. You could encourage them by asking: What do you think will happen when we put in the spoon?  I wonder if the feather will float?
  • Use water sprays to water plants or try and spray each other – great fun and good for strengthening finger muscles.
  • Try adding some other resources for your child to explore such as a sieve, funnel, colander, tubing. Put some holes in plastic milk/water bottles and see what happens! You can experiment by adding more holes and making them bigger.
  • Add mixing bowls and spoons and encourage your child to gather natural materials to make mixtures and potions. This will encourage your child’s imagination. Just keep a close eye on what they are collecting to stay safe.

Top Tip

Water play can be a sociable occasion and exciting or it can be very calming – think about the sound of rain gently falling or the feel of dipping your toes into a cool stream. It is a sensory experience for your child so follow their lead and see what they are enjoying and how they are responding.
For some fun ideas at bath time
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Age Groups

Find more games, resources, tips and links for your child's age group here.

Games & Resources

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Frequently Asked Questions

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