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Sensory Water Play for Babies

Sensory Water Play for Babies at How we Montessori

Sensory water play for babies - it really couldn't get any easier. Many babies will enjoy just a bowl or basin of water, or perhaps a paddle pool to splash around in! Our weather has really warmed up in the last couple of days so I've been looking for ways to extend our outdoor play, we are aiming for three hours a day outside. So I've introduced some water play. In most cases, we've used a large bowl of water and some tools but we could easily do these in the bath or at the kitchen sink. Here are a few things that have worked really well for us at 13 months. 

  • Sponges. A little larger than our cleaning up sponges, these are fun just to squeeze and watch the water drip out. Natural or cleaning sponges or even the large car wash sponges can be fun. 
  • Table Tennis balls. We've used these a lot in the bath at a younger age. The child can chase the balls around the bath, it can take some coordination to catch them. We've just introduced the scoop in which the child can use to scoop up the balls. We've used coloured balls which can later be used for colour work or language work. 
  • Whisks. We have a few different types of whisks to play around with. We put a few drops of dishwashing liquid in the water and whisk away. This is very easy to do in the kitchen sink too. For older children I've also used food colouring so they can mix the coloured water around. 
  • Containers with holes. Containers with holes are fun to use with water play. It's interesting to watch the child observing. An empty yoghurt container or something similar with holes in the bottom can work. We've also used a cheese shaker which has holes in the top. 
  • Measuring cups and ladles. Otto hasn't worked out how to use a ladle but he will spend a lot of time playing with the measuring cups, pouring and filling the cups up again. 
  • Pitchers. Pouring with pitchers and little jugs. 
  • Hand wash clothes. This is getting into practical life territory but I love to give Otto a little handwashing to do. Here we have a couple of woollen tops for him to handwash in a bowl with a few drop of wool wash. It just requires a little squishing and swirling around, working alongside an adult helps the child to know what to do!
  • Watering Can. A small watering can is a lot of fun for water play or for watering the garden. We love to use our transparent watering can but others with different spouts are good for exploring the properties of water. 
  • Pipettes and large basters. At 13 months this was proving too difficult but we will keep the pipettes and large basters nearby for lots of transferring and squirting play. 
  • Empty bottles. Little squirt bottles and later spray bottles are excellent for water play. 
  • Hand pumps. This is something to keep in mind, I would suggest from around 18 months+. 

Otto water play at How we Montessori  cups

If you have the Lovevery The Thinker (11-12 months) set it contains weighted balls. This is a set of two balls, one which is heavy and one that is light, they are wonderful to use in water! The light one with float and the heavy one will sink to the bottom, almost an early sink/float activity. 

Although these aren't Montessori activities, I would keep a few things in mind. I don't want to confuse the child about the purpose of the tools. I don't use the child's (or our family's) water pitcher or weaning cups for water play, I use different cups and pitchers. While I am ok with using ladles and whisks for water play in a bowl or at the kitchen sink, I wouldn't put them in the bath. 

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