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14 Water Play Activities For Kids That Increase Child Development

Brother, sister and dog playing with water in garden
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Water play allows a child to submerge, splash, pour, scoop and explore their senses. Fun water play ideas for children enable them to grow, learn and have fantastic fun. There are specific and different pools for toddlers and preschoolers.

Water play activities are great ideas to help educate and entertain a child on hot summer days. Water activities help kids to stay cool as well.

There are many different water games and activities that kids of all ages can enjoy. Water activities can help toddlers develop their gross motor skills, preschoolers can learn about science and math concepts, and school-aged students can stay active and have fun.

Let us glance through some of the social, cognitive, emotional and physical benefits of water play ideas for children. 

Water Play Resources for Children 

Some common water containers, toys and resources for children include:  

  1. Bucket
  2. Bath
  3. Kitchen sink
  4. Water table
  5. Plastic tub 
  6. Sponge
  7. Cups and glasses 
  8. Spades 
  9. Floating Toys 
  10. Water boats 
  11. Funnels 
  12. Balls 
  13. Balloons 
  14. Bath crayons  

Water Play Benefits for Children

Improved Fine & Gross Motor Skills 

Fine and gross motor skills development is vital during early childhood. It helps children to build their small and large muscles. Water activities are a fun way to improve their physical abilities. Different types of water movements have varied impacts on children. Some of the early steps to practice and improve motor abilities include dunk, splash, squish, dump, pour, fill and others. 

Improved Focus 

Water may be an unfamiliar environment for many children, and they often exhibit curiosity and excitement when introduced to pools for the first time. A kiddie pool with soapy water encourages a child to spend a long time exploring.

When a child spends a considerable amount of time in the water, they want to explore different and simple fun activities. It helps them to improve their concentration span which contributes to better performance.  

Introduces Mathematical Ideas 

When children play with water they learn about different types of mathematical values. Children learn about the capacity and volume of water through games and experiments. Kids understand the displacement of objects in the water, conservation of water and other important activities. These mathematical skills are essential for higher education. 

Improved Hand-Eye Coordination

Water paint, water pour, and water stir are some of the classic games for children. They learn and understand different concepts such as direction and amount of water splash. It is a great way to develop hand-eye coordination in early childhood. Water games also improve their sense of water control and accuracy. 

Builds Social & Communication Skills 

Water activities can be highly engaging if children participate as a group. It enhances social and cooperative skills at play. For example, a group of children may wait in a queue to jump into a pool to see who makes the biggest splash. These play experiences contribute to the overall development of different types of communication skills.  

Therapeutic Experience 

Water is a great medium to help anybody feel calm. Also, introducing a child to water play in their early years may also help to determine if the child is hydrophobic. Most children love to pour, squish and swish with water.

Water activities keep a child occupied and release stress, frustration or tension if any. When the child is introduced to a pool, it can be the beginning of a therapeutic experience for them. Also, a child may take up water sports as a hobby! 

Water Play Activities for Infants 

Bath Time Toys 

Fill a tub with clean water and gently sit your baby. Add their favourite chew toys into the tub. Mix the water with gel and bathe your baby gently. Give them the liberty to play with the toys inside water. Amuse them with how different toys float and sink. Record their priceless expressions. Share reels. 

Ocean Water Bin 

Help your child to understand the concept of water and life through the ocean sensory bin. Fill a bin with clean water and add ocean animal toys along with regular animal toys. Help to increase their imaginative capabilities. 

Water Xylophone

Make music for your baby. A water xylophone is 100 times better than your regular xylophone. Additionally, it is a great opportunity to explore the creative side of the water. Arrange for a set of 7 glasses.

Fill the glasses with 7 colours of the rainbow. Fill only 1 coloured water in each glass for maximum highlight. Teach music in a fashionable and creative manner to your baby. 

Float & Sink Stimulation 

Help your baby get used to the initial concepts of science. When the baby identifies how different objects sink and others float, it only amuses them. Nevertheless, you can unlock your child’s learning potential early.

Fill a bucket with water or a big bowl. Add sticks, twigs, toys, flowers, rocks and other objects. Witness and wonder in the joy of nature as you experience learning in a brand new way with your child. 

Vegetable Soup Water Bin 

The classic game of childhood is 10X fun when you show your baby how to use water to cook. Fill a big bowl with water and add your baby’s favourite vegetables. Encourage them to stir and mix the water and vegetables. Conduct experiments on how water changes colour when vegetables are boiled in a pot. Cook in front of your baby to stimulate their sense of smell. Start early!

Water Play Activities for Toddlers  

Water Paint 

Grab paintbrushes with other kids and paint the sidewalks of your town. It is a fun activity for toddlers. This is also one of the first water activities a toddler would absolutely love to do!

Garden Soup 

The original Happy Hooligans prepared soup with flowers that were handpicked by children. Introduce this concept to the child and help them explore the beauty of water. 

Kiddie Pool 

The absolute beginner’s pool is an iconic medium to help your child fall in love with water games. Add some fun toys like little sponge ducklings or some sparkling soapy water to the kiddie pool. Balls are an absolute favourite toy for kids. So, throw it into your child’s pool.  

Water Table 

Kids’ water tables are an amazing educational tool. It not only introduces a child to water but also enables them to build strong problem-solving capabilities. A water play table can be used to entertain a bored toddler. It helps to build nice ideas and have fun at the same time. 

Sponge Water Bombs 

Soak a sponge in water for some time and let your toddlers find an innovative way to have fun. It is one of the most simple water activities for toddlers. 

Colour Mixing Water Play 

Mix colour to water and store in small containers. Play mix and match, pour from one container to another and notice colour changes in different containers. Help your toddlers learn more about the properties of water this way and build their cognitive abilities. 

Water Play Activities for PreSchoolers  

Water Balloon Toss

A classic summertime favourite water game. All you need is a few water balloons and some friends or family members to play with. The object of the game is to toss the water balloon back and forth without dropping it. If the balloon pops, then the person who was holding it when it popped is out of the game.

Water Relay Race

A team play game for groups of kids. Set up a course with different water-themed obstacles, such as filling up a bucket with water or squirting water through a hose. Divide the kids into teams and have them race to see who can complete the course the fastest.

Sprinkler Freeze

Organize an exciting game that can be played with just a few kids playing, or a large group. Turn on your sprinklers and let the kids run through them. Once they are all soaked, turn off the sprinklers and see who can freeze in place the longest.

Sponge Races

An innovative activity for groups of kids. Fill up some buckets with water and give each kid a sponge. They will need to soak up as much water as possible and then run to the finish line. The first one to cross the finish line with a soaked sponge wins!

Water Balloon Piñata

Introduce a fun twist on the classic piñata game. Fill up water balloons and hang them from a tree or other sturdy object. Blindfold the kids and let them take turns hitting the piñata until it bursts open and showers them with water!


In conclusion, water play activities present a vast array of benefits, offering not only an escape from the summer heat but also promoting fine motor, and gross motor skills, cognitive abilities, social skills, and a calming therapeutic experience. Whether your child is an infant, a toddler, or a preschooler, there’s a water activity perfectly suited to their developmental stage and interests.

Furthermore, exploring with different water containers and toys, or introducing engaging elements such as food coloring, can further enrich these experiences, creating an array of learning opportunities. Yet, it is crucial to note that no matter the age of the child, adult supervision is always required during outdoor water play, to ensure safety.

Water environments can be slippery, and risks can occur even in the smallest amounts of water. As caregivers, we must provide safe and exciting experiences for our children to explore, learn, and grow.

Overall, water activities can offer many opportunities for an enjoyable and educational pastime for kids, blending the thrill of play with significant developmental benefits. The right guidance and a variety of resources can make water play a fun, educational, and safe experience for every child.

Whether it’s making a splash in a kiddie pool, painting with water, or understanding the properties of water through color mixing and displacement activities, the possibilities of pretend play are endless. As we navigate through the journey of childhood development, remember to cherish these moments of joy, discovery, and growth that water play can offer.


23 Easy & Fun Water Play Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers. (2022). Retrieved 6 June 2022, from 

The Benefits of Water Play for Childhood Development. (2020, October 30). Busy Bees. 

Mcilroy, A. T. (2019, June 19). 9 Surprising Benefits of Water Play and 16 Fun Ideas To Try at Home. Empowered Parents. 

Carol, A. (2020, June 24). Easy water play ideas for babies and toddlers. My Bored Toddler. 

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