Water play is a perfect outdoor activity for toddlers on warm summer days. Add materials gathered in nature to a simple sink or float activity to provide some awesome hands on learning and sensory play.
Sink and Float Water Play with Natural Materials
Allow your young adventurer time to examine objects in natural surroundings, and fill your pockets with interesting treasures!
Water play is easy to provide with just a small tub of water and items to add to the water. Place the natural materials you collected to one side of the tub. You can use any kind of container – I like one like THIS that stores easily under the bed!
Provide different textures, colors, and sizes in your supply of materials. Include leaves, flowers, twigs, stones, or other items you find in nature.
Place items one at a time in the water and observe whether each item sinks or floats.
Water play is a child-led activity, which means it invites kids to participate with few instructions. But it’s helpful to engage with early learners as they interact with the materials to support opportunities for learning through play.
One important way to engage is with meaningful conversation: naming colors; counting items; drawing attention to specific details or events.
What will happen if we put a twig or rock on the leaf?
How many twigs are floating in the water?
Your green leaf looks like a boat.
Along with sink and float there are lots of other ways to play in the water tub.
- Drop materials into the water from above the tub to see if they make a splash.
- Swirl the water with your hands to see which materials move around.
- Sort the materilas according to which ones sink or float, as well as by size, from smallest to biggest.
You can bring the fun indoors with a little preparation in the form of drop cloths and protective clothing.
Indoors or outdoors, water play is fun sensory play that will result in lots of giggles – and splashes! – for you and your toddler.
Some more toddler activities you might enjoy are:
About the Author
Heather is a former preschool teacher and founder of preschooltoolkit.com, a website providing early learning resources for teachers and parents. She focuses on creating fun crafts and activities that engage developmental skills while promoting hands-on learning through play. Follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Google+