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.
What you need
Water, large bowl (e.g. washing up bowl), towel, plastic bottle, scissors
Where to find it
Up to 12 months
A daily bath gives a baby time to splash and kick and enjoy the water.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can fold 3-4 socks into a ball for rolling, throwing or kicking games
Treasure hunts and treasure baskets are great activities for home or out of doors