Let's play with water

Water can provide endless hours of fun for young children – and can also be a real danger. Never leave babies and young children alone in or near water and empty paddling pools and bowls of water after use.water

What you need

Water, large bowl (e.g. washing up bowl), towel, plastic bottle, scissors

Where to find it

At home


Up to 12 months

Bath time
A daily bath gives a baby time to splash and kick and enjoy the water.

Paddling pool
Use a large washing-up bowl as a baby paddling pool: on a hot day, from about 6 months they will enjoy splashing in cool (not very cool) water.

12 months–2 years

Splash and splosh
A washing-up bowl can be used for splashing and for jumping in.

Water sprinkler
Use scissors to make small holes in the base of an empty plastic bottle. Fill it, then use it to water plants, as an impromptu shower on a hot day, or to make patterns as children run and jump with it.

Use for water play in the bath; adding bubble bath makes it more fun.

A garden hose and sprinkler is fun to run through.
Children love to help water the garden at the end of the day.

2-5 years

Fetch and pour
Encourage children to find suitable containers, e.g. plastic cups, glasses, bottles, jugs and small buckets. Spread these around the garden to keep them on the move.

Washing line
Provide soapy water and rinsing water for children to wash dolls’ and teddies’ clothes, with a low line of string and pegs, or a clothes horse, to hang them on. (This can also be done over the bath.) Some toys can be given a bath, too.

Mud pies
Earth, water and outdoor clothes are all that’s needed.

And as they grow older...

Using containers for pouring and filling lets children explore volume.

Let's play with a ball

You can fold 3-4 socks into a ball for rolling, throwing or kicking games

Let's go on a treasure hunt
treasure hunt

Treasure hunts and treasure baskets are great activities for home or out of doors