EYFS Water Play Ideas and Activities
EYFS Water Play Ideas and Activities
Following on from our article on sand activities and games, and continuing the theme of outdoor play during the summer months, in this article we’re going to look at some of the creative and experimental water play ideas you can try in early years settings.
- Water Tables
- Washing Station
- Water Painting
- Boat/Duck Race
- Water Wall
- Dinosaur Rescue
- Water Relay Race
- Water Xylophone
- Toy Sorting
- Water Experiments
The Benefits of Water Play
Playing with water has all the same benefits as playing with sand. To recap, these include the following:
- It improves fine motor skills
- It provides opportunities for exploration and experimentation
- It’s a sensory, immersive, calming experience
- It provides an outlet for creativity and imaginative play
- It’s a good way of getting children to play outside
Note that there are some extra considerations to factor in with certain water play games and activities, such as using appropriate clothing (ie providing overalls or a change of clothes), and ensuring that suncream is reapplied where necessary.
10 Ideas for Water Play Ideas and Activities
1. Water Play Tables
It’s a good idea to invest in at least one water play table for your nursery (be it a small or large water play table), to give children the opportunity to play freely with water either inside or outside. You will also need a box of accessories to go with the table, such as funnels, sponges, watering cans, as well as containers (buckets, cups, bottles) of various sizes.
2. Washing Station
Set up a washing station in the garden and get the children to clean some toys. You’ll need a few bowls of warm water – some with soap in for washing and some without for rinsing – along with sponges and brushes for scrubbing, and towels (or paper towels) for drying. You could make this activity more specific, for example, it could be a car wash (for cleaning all the toy vehicles) or a laundry (for washing and pegging out toy clothes).
3. Water Painting
Painting on the ground with water is a fun activity that allows children the freedom to make as much ‘mess’ as they like – it will soon disappear! Try different ways of applying the water, using brushes, sponges or squirty bottles, and see what kind of results you get. Water painting also works well in combination with chalk drawing, to create colour wash effects.
4. Boat/Duck Race
Unroll a length of aluminium foil and curl the edges up slightly all along the sides and ends. Lay it out on a flat piece of ground and put some water in. Get a few small plastic boats/ducks and some water pistols; the children race the boats/ducks along the foil ‘river’ by squirting them with their water pistols.
5. Water Wall
To make a water wall you’ll need a vertical base (a piece of trellis is ideal) and various receptacles and tubes to attach onto it (either with ties or nails). Use your imagination, raid the recycling bin and forage around for materials – bits of drainpipe are particularly good, along with old bath toys, funnels and plastic bottles with holes cut in them. Try to construct your water wall so that there are a few different paths for the water to run down and collect at the bottom.
6. Dinosaur Rescue
Freeze some toy dinosaurs in individual containers, and get the children to ‘rescue’ them from the ice, using toy hammers and other appropriate tools. This is a really popular activity, and a particularly good one to have up your sleeve on a hot day.
7. Water Relay Race
Sort the children into teams for a water relay race. You’ll need some large containers of water at the start of the racecourse, and some empty containers at the end so that each team has their own set of two containers. The children take it in turns to fill a bucket with water, run down the track and tip it into the container at the end, before running back and passing the bucket to the next person. The team that collects the most water wins.
8. Water Xylophone
Collect some glass bottles and jars, and fill them with water, adding food dye for extra visual impact. Use spoons or percussion sticks to strike them, and listen out for the different notes and tones that they make. Experiment with water levels, and discover what happens. See if you can put the bottles in order from the lowest to highest note.
9. Toy Sorting
Put some toys in a large container of water (you could use a water table if you have one), and give the children some nets and buckets so that they can scoop up and collect the toys, perhaps sorting them by colour, or by type.
10. Water Experiments
For this activity, you’ll need an assortment of materials with varying degrees of absorbency (eg cotton wool, paper towel, cardboard, fabric, cling film, aluminium foil), and something for applying water (eg pipettes or squeezy bottles). Get the children to experiment with dropping water onto the different materials and see which ones absorb it most quickly, and which don’t absorb it at all. Add food dye to the water to make it easier to track.
We hope you have enjoyed exploring some more ways to be creative with water play. If you’re looking for more fun and creative activities then why not try some of our other articles:
- EYFS Sand Play Ideas and Activities
- Nature Activities for Kids: Ideas for Exploring the Outdoors
- 12 Indoor Activities for Kids
- 10 Easy Paper Crafts for Kids
- Music Activities for Toddlers
- 10 Outdoor Craft Ideas for Nursery Children
- Activities to Encourage Children to Share