Today I want to share some really easy water activities that my three-year-old has been loving. I'd suggest these are suitable for older toddlers to preschoolers. All of these activities use materials that I've found around our home but can also be inexpensively found in craft type stores. All of these activities help to develop coordination, concentration and fine motor skills.
- Transferring corks with Tweezer Tongs - the child uses the tweezer tongs to move the floating corks from the large bowl to the smaller bowl. Lots of other tools could be used depending on the child's age and skill level including a spoon or other tongs/tweezers. This can be a fun game for children really into counting, they can count the corks as they transfer them.
- Crocodile game - transferring sponge (fish) with mini tongs (the crocodile). The child uses the tongs to catch the sponge pieces and transfer them to the smaller bowl. We could cut the sponges to look like fish which I'm sure the children would enjoy.
- Transferring water with a dropper - the child uses the dropper to transfer the coloured water to the suction cups on the plastic tray, ours is a cut-up rubber bathmat that has been provided for this purpose in a Montessori kit. A pipette could be used but I have found the child has greater control with a dropper. This requires skill, coordination and control for the child to accurately place the drops of water.
- Colour mixing - using pipettes, primary colour watercolours and a paint palette. The child is left to freely transfer the watercolours to the tray and mix the colours.
- Whisking - using a small whisk, dishwashing detergent with a dropper and a bowl of water. The child learns to whisk by making bubbles in the water.
- Pouring to a line - using coloured water (as it's easier to see) in a small jug, three glasses with a rubber band on them at various heights, tape around the glass would work too. The child learns to carefully pour the water to the same level as the line/marker.
The crocodile game! The crocodile (tongs) catches all of the fish (sponge). The sponge is kitchen sponge that I've cut into small pieces, you could cut them larger or smaller depending on the child.
Carefully dropping the water on the suction cups. This is harder than it looks for a three-year-old, it requires a lot of control. A sponge is provided to clean up any spills. The dropper is from an old facial oil bottle. The little jar is an old jam jar. It helps to collect these little bits and pieces, you never know when they might be useful.
Colour mixing is magic. Blue and yellow make green, right before our eyes! We've used watercolour paints but food colouring would work too. I've used this exact activity with a white ice cube tray and that works perfectly.
Whisking is fun when it makes a lot of bubbles. This small whisk is from an Ikea kids kitchen tool set.
Pouring to a line. The three-year-old is competent in pouring but pouring to a line requires more control and concentration. We've coloured the water in many of these activities to make it easier to see, and to add a fun element. It can also be helpful to provide a small sponge or small cleaning cloth so the child can clean up any spills.