Water Sensory Activities for Kids

Summer is a great time for water play, whether your kids are toddlers, preschoolers, or older. When kids play with water, they’re learning and having fun at the same time. Scooping, pouring, sprinkling, and splashing can provide hours of fun entertainment. Kids can also stay cool on hot summer days when they stay busy with water sensory activities.

  • Five Little Ducks: This activity is ideal for toddlers because it’s open-ended. Sing the nursery rhyme and give your little one five little ducks to play with in a shallow container of water.
  • Sponge Water Bombs: Make sponge water bombs out of new sponges and elastic bands. Then, use them to have a fun water fight.
  • Fish Ice Play: Use a fish-shaped mold to make fish ice cubes with colored water. Put the fish ice cubes in a bin of water for kids to play with.
  • Lemon Sensory Bin: Slice up a few lemons and put them in a shallow bin of water. Kids can have fun scooping up the lemons while they enjoy the invigorating lemon scent.
  • Muddy Animal Water Play: Fill one bin with muddy water and another bin with soapy water. Add small toy animals to the muddy bin and coat them completely with mud. Have the kids transfer the animals to the soapy water bin so they can wash them clean.
  • Color Mixing Water Play: Fill small containers with water and use food coloring to make each a different color. Have kids mix the different water colors to see what new colors they can create.
  • Pom-Pom Squeeze Water Play: Immerse pom-poms of different sizes in a bin filled with water. Allow kids to squeeze out the pom-poms to fill up containers.
  • Sensory Soup: Go on a nature walk and have kids collect rocks, pine cones, leaves, and other small items. Go back home and put everything in a pot of water for kids to explore.
  • Alphabet Slap: Put foam alphabet letters in a bin full of water. Have kids use a toy shovel to scoop up letters and call out the name of each letter.
  • Washing Dishes: Put plastic dishes from a play kitchen into a bin of water and have kids practice doing the dishes.
  • Water Transfer: Fill a medium-size bin with water and give kids a few smaller buckets and pails. Encourage them to pour water between the containers.
  • Glowing Galaxy Water Bin: Fill a bin of water with glow sticks, marbles, eyedroppers, and funnels. Allow kids to freely play with the items.
  • Feed the Ducks: Float some ducks in a shallow bin of water with some foam lily pads and floating corks. The kids can scoop up the corks to pretend to feed the ducks.
  • Ocean Sensory Bin: Fill a bin with oceanic animal toys such as plastic crabs, starfish, and lobsters. Kids can have fun scooping up the animals from the ocean water.
  • Color Sorting Bin: Use colored reusable ice cubes that will float on the water. Place colored cups in the water that match the ice cubes. Kids then need to scoop out the ice cubes and place them in the matching cups.
  • Water Balloon Tennis: Fill up small water balloons and have kids play water balloon tennis with kids’ tennis rackets.
  • Summer Flower Sensory Bin: Fill a shallow bin of water with flowers and leaves from your yard and let kids enjoy scooping and pouring them.
  • Patriotic Sensory Bin: Cut red, white, and blue pool noodles into small pieces that are the right size for kids to pick up in their hands. Place the pieces in a shallow bin of water for fun pouring and scooping.
  • Sink/Float Activity: Gather a variety of items and have kids guess whether each one will sink or float in a tub of water.
  • Foam Blocks: Fill a bin of water with foam blocks. Kids can organize them according to color and shape.
  • Water Balloon Pinata: Fill large water balloons and suspend them above the ground. Kids can hit them with a tee-ball bat to pop them.
  • Water Xylophone: Fill glasses with different amounts of water and color the water in each glass a different color. Use a spoon to tap the side of each glass to make different notes.
  • Vegetable Soup Water Play: Place vegetables from a play kitchen into a bin of water. Have kids scoop out the vegetables in their “soup.”
  • Ice Block Shark Hunt: Fill a small bin with blue-colored water. Place a few toy sharks into the water, and freeze the bin until the water is frozen solid. Give kids the ice block, some plastic tools, salt, and spray bottles filled with warm water. Encourage them to dig out the sharks from the frozen water.
  • Color Sort and Hunt: Draw star designs on ping-pong balls with different colors of permanent markers. Fill a small bin with water, toss in the balls, and encourage kids to scoop out specific colors.
  • Boat Challenge: Make tiny boats out of small plastic containers, taping a straw flag to each boat. Put the boats in a bin of water and give the kids small plastic cubes. Challenge them to see how many plastic cubes will fit on a boat without sinking it.
  • Egg Scoop Activity: Fill a bin of water with plastic Easter eggs. Have kids scoop out the eggs to place them in containers.
  • Water Baby Bin: Fill a bin with water and put bath toys in it. Encourage kids to sit in the bin to play with the bath toys.
  • Toddler Car Wash: Gather toy cars and trucks that can get wet and fill a tub with water. Provide kids with sponges, squirters, cups, and pitchers and have them wash the cars and trucks.

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