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EYFS Water Play Ideas and Activities




In this blog we’re going to look at some of the creative and experimental water play ideas you can try at home. Especially with the lovely weather we have right now.


  1. Water Tables/bucket/washing up bowl

  2. Washing Station

  3. Water Painting

  4. Boat/Duck Race

  5. Dinosaur Rescue

  6. Water Xylophone

  7. Toy Sorting

  8. Water Experiments


The Benefits of Water Play

Playing with water has all the same benefits as playing with sand. To recap, these include the following:

Note that there are some extra considerations to factor in with certain water play games and activities, such as using appropriate clothing (ie providing overalls or a change of clothes), and ensuring that suncream is reapplied where necessary.

10 Ideas for Water Play Ideas and Activities

1. Water Play Tables/washing up bowl/any item that holds water

To give children the opportunity to play freely with water outside. You will also need a box of accessories to go with your water such as funnels, sponges, watering cans, as well as containers (buckets, cups, bottles) of various sizes.


2. Washing Station

Set up a washing station in the garden and get the children to clean some toys. You’ll need a few bowls of warm water – some with soap in for washing and some without for rinsing – along with sponges and brushes for scrubbing, and towels (or paper towels) for drying. You could make this activity more specific, for example, it could be a car wash (for cleaning all the toy vehicles) or a laundry (for washing and pegging out toy clothes).


3. Water Painting

Painting on the ground with water is a fun activity that allows children the freedom to make as much ‘mess’ as they like – it will soon disappear! Try different ways of applying the water, using brushes, sponges or squirty bottles, and see what kind of results you get. Water painting also works well in combination with chalk drawing, to create colour wash effects.


4. Boat/Duck Race

Unroll a length of aluminium foil and curl the edges up slightly all along the sides and ends. Lay it out on a flat piece of ground and put some water in. Get a few small plastic boats/ducks and some water pistols; the children race the boats/ducks along the foil ‘river’ by squirting them with their water pistols.

5. Dinosaur Rescue

Freeze some toy dinosaurs in individual containers, and get the children to ‘rescue’ them from the ice, using toy hammers and other appropriate tools. This is a really popular activity, and a particularly good one to have up your sleeve on a hot day.

6. Water Xylophone

Collect some glass jars, and fill them with water, adding food dye for extra visual impact. Use spoons or percussion sticks to strike them gently, and listen out for the different notes and tones that they make. Experiment with water levels, and discover what happens. See if you can put the jars in order from the lowest to highest note.

7. Toy Sorting

Put some toys in a large container of water (you could use a bucket) if you have one), and give the children some nets and buckets so that they can scoop up and collect the toys, perhaps sorting them by colour, or by type.

8. Water Experiments

For this activity, you’ll need an assortment of materials with varying degrees of absorbency (eg cotton wool, paper towel, cardboard, fabric, cling film, aluminium foil), and something for applying water (eg pipettes or squeezy bottles). Get the children to experiment with dropping water onto the different materials and see which ones absorb it most quickly, and which don’t absorb it at all. Add food dye to the water to make it easier to track.

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