Water Play


Charity Quinn, Contributor

50 Favorite Materials for Water Sensory Play!

Water is magical for little ones. It’s our go-to sensory activity in the summer at Lend & Learn because it’s simple, cheap, easy to clean up, and so enriching for your child’s development! We are sharing our 50 favorite materials to set up water sensory play for young children!

Set up your water sensory play with materials you have at home. Some families may choose to purchase a water table, but you can use an oversized shallow container such as metal baking tray or muffin tin, a plastic tupperware bin, baby pool, or even the bathtub! Fill your bin with an inch or two of water and add one or a combination of interesting materials for your child to manipulate. To protect your floors, put towels down around the bin. Or even better, set up the sensory bin outside! 

Always be safe when you play! It’s important to supervise your young child when playing with water. Below the list, we share a link to water safety tips for children from the American Academy of Pediatrics. Interact with your child and help them experiment and engage with the materials. Encourage your child to explore and make new discoveries as they play!

Materials you can add to your water sensory bin: 

  1. Measuring cups
  2. Whisks
  3. Spatulas
  4. Spoons
  5. Bowls
  6. Spray bottles
  7. Empty ketchup bottles
  8. Empty yogurt cups
  9. Empty spice containers
  10. Empty soap dispenser
  11. Plastic tubes
  12. Flower petals
  13. Leaves
  14. Sticks
  15. Pine cones
  16. Rocks
  17. Citrus slices
  18. Cucumber slices
  19. Berries
  20. Mint
  21. Rosemary
  22. Lavender
  23. Basil
  24. Dish soap for bubbles!
  25. Pom poms
  26. Ice cubes 
  27. Water beads
  28. Sand/ dirt (mud play!)
  29. Cut-up pool noodles
  30. Toy cars
  31. Foam blocks
  32. Duplos 
  33. Color:  Add a few drops of food coloring or washable paint + a dab of dish soap
  34. Paint brushes
  35. Sponges & scrub brushes
  36. Unused toothbrush
  37. Plastic balls
  38. Rubber ducks
  39. Squirt toys
  40. Dance scarves
  41. Plastic toy food
  42. Teething rings
  43. Fishing nets
  44. Plastic tea set
  45. Magnifying glass
  46. Child-safe mirror
  47. Pipe cleaners
  48. Foam shapes
  49. Plastic magnetic letters
  50. Plastic animals

Read more about the benefits of water play: https://www.kidsclubchildcare.com.au/5-benefits-of-water-play-in-early-childhood-development/

Water safety tips for children from the American Academy of Pediatrics: