Water Play


This activity will encourage children to explore and discover the feel of water. This is a sensory experience with cognitive applications for classifying and sorting. It will enable children to measure and assess the amount of water needed. Water play enhances children’s fine motor skills (i.e. hand-eye coordination) and it encourages expressive language by promoting questions and answers.

What you need?

  • Water tray/trough
  • Plastic or paper boats and weights (rocks/stones/fishing sinkers)
  • Different sized plastic containers for pouring (e.g., funnels, sponges, cups etc.)
  • Aprons for children


1. Place boats on the water and watch them float, place rocks in the water and watch them sink.

2. Allow children to ‘feel’ the water.

3. Demonstrate pouring and floating techniques.

4. Talk and describe the water and the resources, “is it cold? Does the boat float? Does a rock float? What else can sink? Can you squeeze the sponge? How does that feel? Can you fill the cup?” Pour the water out (use appropriate language to describe the actions – pour, pouring, sinking, sunk, fill, floating).

5. Always supervise the child or children at the water trough.

Extension of the activity

This activity is about science, discovery and mathematics; it is developing cognitive concepts of classification and sorting. Children begin to measure water and develop an understanding of the depth of water.

  • Use coloured water (visual).
  • Use small, filled balloons (floating and sinking).
  • Freeze small figurines and place them in trough to thaw out (discovery concepts and sensory).
  • Add bubbles (sensory).
  • Make paper/cardboard boats (floating and sinking, fine motor skills).