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Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


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Water games

Activities for toddlers and babies

 

Water is an element that babies and toddlers enjoy exploring!

 

AREA SETUP

Pictures of water
Display pictures and illustrations related to water throughout your daycare. A few suggestions: children playing in water, a mother watering plants or flowers, a dog drinking water, etc. Explore the pictures with your group.

 

ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS

Drinking water different ways
Experiment with different ways of drinking water: in a small glass, in a large glass, with a drinking straw, with a spoon, etc.

 

Like a big kid
Set pitchers of water on a table outside. Let older toddlers try to pour water in their glass. Younger children will enjoy transferring water from one drinking glass to another.

 

SENSORY ACTIVITIES (touch)

Bubbles
Pour a small amount of water in the bottom of a small swimming pool. Add bubble bath and stir with your group. They will enjoy playing in the bubbles. Add small containers children can fill and empty with bubbles.

 

SENSORY ACTIVITIES (look)

Bottles
Use plastic bottles. Fill them with water. Drop a different item in each bottle. Among other things, you may add glitter, food coloring, plastic flowers, fish shapes cut out of felt or Fun Foam, etc. Secure the caps on the bottles and let children shake the bottles. They will enjoy watching the various objects move around in the water.

 

ARTS & CRAFTS

Little fish
On a large piece of cardboard, let babies and toddlers paint, draw, or glue pieces of blue paper to represent water. Cut a variety of fish shapes out of construction paper and let children decorate them. When they are done they can glue their fish on the blue background.

 

Paintbrushes and water
If you have a black chalkboard in your daycare, encourage children to paint the surface with water. A large cardboard box or paved driveway can also be used.

 

MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Cleaning as a group
Gather several buckets and fill them with soapy water. Add sponges and cloths and invite children to wash your slides, swings, fence, plastic chairs, etc. Variation: Let children wash the toys in your daycare or their dishes after lunch.

 

Time for a bath
Encourage babies and toddlers to bathe the dolls available in your daycare. Offer empty soap and shampoo bottles, facecloths, bars of soap, and towels to make the activity seem as real as possible.

 

COGNITIVE ACTIVITIES
Balls

Collect several different balls. Be sure to have very light balls and very heavy balls. Have children throw the balls in a small swimming pool. They will enjoy the splashes the balls will produce. Help them notice that the heavier balls produce bigger waves and that the lighter balls float more easily.

 

Different sizes of funnels
Collect several different funnels, from very small funnels to gigantic funnels. Let children explore them in containers filled with water or small pools.

 

This activity is perfect for learning about cause and effect. What's more, funnels represent improvised hourglasses for babies.

 

A few suggestions:

  • Add food coloring to a water bottle and empty it in a funnel in front of babies to help them differentiate the pool water from the water that is coming out of the funnel.
  • Let the water dripping out of the funnel drip on babies' different body parts to offer them a gentle massage. Use lukewarm water that you can let drip through the funnel onto babies' hands. The water should be slightly warmer than the pool water so that children can feel the difference.

Variation: Use sieves instead of funnels.

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS

Bare feet and wet sponges
Here is a fun outdoor activity for summer. Deposit colourful wet sponges on the ground. Encourage toddlers to walk barefoot on each sponge. The sponges' texture along with the water oozing out of the sponges will make this activity a great success!

 

Water bins
Deposit several different bins filled with water throughout your yard. Babies and toddlers will be motivated to move about to explore their contents. Prepare water bottles containing food coloring that children can empty, objects that sink or float, containers filled with soap bubbles, etc. Children will most likely overturn the containers after 5 to 10 minutes if they are lightweight, but they will greatly enjoy exploring them!

 

Watering flowers
Purchase small watering cans and have fun watering your plants, flowers, trees, and lawn with your group.

 

Homemade sieves
Making your own sieves can represent an interesting activity for babies and toddlers.

 

Here is how:

  • You will need empty 1 litre or 2 litre soft drink bottles that have been cleaned.
  • Punch several tiny holes in the bottles. Fill them with water and put the caps back on.
  • Give children the bottles and let them observe the water as it drips out just like it would from a real sieve.

Children will enjoy playing with these inexpensive sieves in small swimming pools. They can also use them to water plants and flowers, your lawn, their feet, etc. If you wish, add a few drops of food coloring to the water.


Chantal Millette
Early childhood educator


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