Early Childhood Curriculum : Water Play Activity Ideas

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I have to do a school project for my final grade in an Early Childhood Curriculum class. The theme is basically anything to do with water play, and it is geared toward infants and toddlers and preschoolers. Does anyone have any suggestions for educational, fine motor, discovery-science, ABC activities, block activities, or art activities having to do with water play?  Also, I have to come up with 2 weeks worth of book titles  (so 10 books total). Does anyone know of any water themed books for infants and toddlers? Thank you 🙂 🙂 your advice is much appreciated! (See replies below!) 

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6 thoughts on “Early Childhood Curriculum : Water Play Activity Ideas

  1. Take some different colors of food coloring and some water. Put them in separate cups. Tell them to paint a picture with the water! Have fun,good luck and hope this helps!
    References :

  2. Ok well for the toddlers you could put water in squirt bottles, and make it different colors, and have them spray it on paper, it could be like painting just with like water colors. For the infants, like the other person said have them put their hands in colored water, and make a picture.While doing both of these activities have the children to tell you what color they are using and things like that. As for the books goes, try googling it.
    References :

  3. We got a little swimming pool ($7.00 at Toys R Us) a "water table" (a picnic table that you can open up and fill with water and the kids can float toys in).

    Fill your water container about 1/3 up with water then let the kids play in it with cups and other accessories- now, add some ice cubes and then ask them how the water feels as the ice cubes melt etc.

    Let the kids help you add food coloring to the water. What color is the water this time? Fill your water table or a big plastic tub with a different temperature of water than you normally do – just a little colder or warmer.

    Get a large plastic tub and fill it half full with water. Add 4 squirts of liquid detergent. Give a wide mouth plastic straw to kids and then let the kids stand around the tub and blow bubbles in the tub. (may be too young for toddlers since they might sip up and drink some soap, unless you get EDIBLE BUBBLES!!!!)

    We do this every summer: Fill large plastic tubs with soapy water, sponges and dry cloths. Bring out things for the kids to wash like small chairs, dolls, toy cars or tricycles. Let them wash the objects and dry them with towels.

    Materials: A spray bottle for each child, watercolors, water, large wall or fence.

    Description: Fill each water bottle with a different color watercolor, mixed with water. Outdoor, on a large wall or fence, let children spray and watch what happens as colors mix. Dries quickly and washes off easily.

    For ABC and water…R is for Rain…U is for Umbrella…I is for Ice…B is for Boat etc..

    This website has some ideas for you and it breaks down in discovery-science, art activies, etc…


    References :
    preschool teacher

  4. I’m thinking infant-toddler and almost all of that would be "free-exploration", correct me if I’m wrong!

    Fine Motor:
    * sponges are the best for this age. Squeeze squeeze squeeze! Great for hand strengthening. You can use different type of sponges (dollar store), different shape or color sponges, you can add number or alphabet sponges.
    * Float foamie shapes in the water…or alphabet foamies or number foamies and have a dry erase board or plexiglass near by. They can use a sieve to "catch" the shapes and put them on the plexiglass. The water will make them "stick" for awhile on the board.

    * I would use plastic blocks or other plastic manipulatives…this would also fall under discovery/science. Provide floating foam boards or plastic boats. Also provide blocks or manipulatives for them to put onto the boards/boats and see if they can get them to sink.

    * Provide a plastic "slide" (a doll slide works perfectly) and blocks/manipulatives of various weights. Let them slide the items down the slide and into the water. Which make the bigger splash? Kids love to use manipulatives on the top of the slide and use a cup of water to make it "slide" down. Works best if the slide is set up in the middle of the table!

    * washable markers on coffee filters and spray bottles of water or cups of water and paint brushes to make the colors blend. Older toddlers, about 2-21/2- can start to use eye droppers and drop water onto the coffee filters. Of course they can be turned into butterflies, flowers, block letters, etc.

    * Provide various-sized containers and funnels. Chunky short to tall and narrow.

    * On a warm day let them step into a washtub of water and run on a stretch of side walk. What happens to the foot prints? The sun makes them go away. Same can be done with large paint brushes and their own small buckets of water. They can paint the sidewalks and etc. This is great for those pre-writing skills.

    * Place various liquids, including water, into transparent bottles…add glitter, sequins, colorful paper clips, etc. Hot glue the lid onto the bottle and let the children explore.

    Here are other ideas. Many can be used in multiple categories.
    * Let the children help you make a bubble solution and blow bubbles.

    * I like to do this prior to paint because it’s a "skill" that takes practice. Cut a straw in half, put a few eye droppers full of colored water on a tray and let them blow the water through the straw to get it to move.

    * cornstarch and water (goop/gak) is a very neat mixture and my toddlers LOVE it. It’s a "clean mess" too. It’ll dry so you can sweep it right up…but then it’s liquidy when they pick it up with the spoon and drizzle it. They LOVE to drizzle at this age.

    * make snacks that use water such as jello.

    * make scratch and sniff paint. It’s neat to let them make their own and mix it up. Provide a little cup of water to mix into a bowl that has a bit of jello powder in it. You can talk about what color they think it’s going to be. Let them paint. Let it dry. Smell.

    * Your type of "tools" you put in water play change the skill levels used. I like to put small medicine cups or tablespoons in for more fine motor work.

    * Bug catchers make great sensory play tools, even with water. Helps with developing the muscles used for cutting with scissors.

    Oh, I could go on and on with water! We use it at least once a week and if I don’t I get "scolded" by the children! 🙂 There are so many ways to vary it. If you find there is a specific area you need more ideas for, feel free to email. I’ll see what I can do.

    Edit: Thought of another activity we did recently that was a hit. It was for our rain theme. Rainy day activities for kids! I had foam raindrops and glued foam numbers on it. You can glue color splotches, alphabet, shapes, etc. Then we put them inside of an upside down umbrella and sang Rain Rain Go Away and at the last verse the child with the umbrella flipped it up so it "rained" the raindrops. You can do so much with those raindrops, if you plan it right. Review/recognition, spelling names of the children, numerical or alphabet order, etc.
    References :

  5. First, make the water fun or different, you could add some glitter or color dye to it.

    Then you could do something like add colorful animals to the water, and the task is that the children have to sort the colors and count them.
    References :
    childcare student

  6. Hi there, I have recently done a water activity with 2yr olds.

    I filled the water tray with 2-3cm of tepid water, a little food colouring and a good shake of glitter.

    Freeze a water balloon overnight.

    Give them the chance to explore this in small groups.

    I will give u a step by step guide to how I did it if you want it.

    (the tepid water stops their hand getting ice burns and hurries the melting process).

    They Absolutely loved it.

    Enjoy! X
    References :
    Early Years Worker

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