Water play is a toddler mood-changer in our house. Whether it’s playing in the sink, splashing in the bath, or exploring the water table outside, water play often gets rid of any late-afternoon grumpies. We have a bucket of water play toys outside – stacking cups, measuring cups, sponges, a turkey baster, and some funnels. These get a lot of play, but sometimes we need to mix things up with a fresh play idea. I have three engaging water table play ideas, perfect for the Get Out and Play summer series. Using toys and items you probably have around the house, you’ll have quick & easy fun for hot summer days!
Don’t have a water table? Any shallow bin will work! You can see that we use a plastic storage bin for our water table, and it works great. Ours sits on a very simple homemade frame, but we often play with it right on the ground, too.
3 Fresh Play Ideas for the Water Table:
1. Play Dishes – Cups, spoons, teapots and plates are perfect to pair with water, with lots of opportunities for scooping, pouring, and pretending. You could also add a few drops of dish soap and some sponges for dish washing play. My little guy loves filling and pouring with the teapot, and I remember my girls planning elaborate underwater tea parties for some plastic animals.
2. Foam shapes & scoopers – You might have some store-bought foam shapes or letters for the bath. We cut some simple shapes from craft foam sheets – if you have older kids, they can do this part for you! Bring your shapes outside to the water table and add a few different scoopers to play with, such as a ladle, slotted spoon, or pasta fork. Older toddlers and preschoolers might enjoy trying to pick the shapes up with tongs, too. My 21-month-old loved this activity and played with these shapes for a long time!
3. Lego Duplos – Surprise your little one by bringing building time outside. Try clicking and unclicking the Duplos underwater. Do they float or sink? Bonus: your Duplos get a nice cleaning, too!
P.S. All these ideas make bath time extra fun too! Happy playing!
See more summer ideas with our Get Out and Play series!