Indoor Water Fun for Preschoolers
Have you seen the water tables some preschools have? It’s basically a deep basin with legs, they can fill with water, sand, oatmeal or an assortment of beans to serve as a tactile station. At every station like this, kids typically have to be pried away and told to do something else, or they get squeeze out by other kids who want to play too.
Before my preschooler was ready for traditional preschool, we did a Mom’s preschool once a week with friends. When I taught ‘rain, snow, wind and water,’ the weather didn’t cooperate and I needed an indoor activity that went with our theme. So, our free play was my own “mom” version of a water table.
I used two under bed storage bins, filled them 1/3 full with warm tap water, had a plastic watering can for each child, plastic cups in different sizes and measuring cups.
Since I wanted the kids to make it home somewhat dry, I used plastic grocery bags to make ‘smocks’ for each of them. I flattened out the bag and cut out the middle of the bottom ‘seam’ of the bag. Leave 3 inches of the seam on both ends, these will be the shoulders of the smock. Next cut open both sides of the plastic bag all the way to the bottom seam. Snip the handles apart to create ties. This should resemble something like a scrimmage jersey.
Slip their head through the opening in the bottom of the bag, and tie the handles securely at their hips.
If the child is wearing long sleeves, you’ll want to push them up well past their elbows to keep them dry.
Keep a stack of towels on hand, because try as they might, water will get on the floor and you’ll want to wipe it up periodically so your feet don’t get cold and wet and to keep it safe for everyone.
These kids played with this set up for a 30-45 minutes, with no sign of getting bored.
Had the weather been better, this would have been perfect to do outside. Prop the storage bins up on buckets or set up two folding chairs facing each other, using the seats to set the water bin on, making it accessible from both sides and would allow up to four kids to participate.
* * This activity requires constant adult supervision! Do not ever leave a child playing with water unattended. A child can easily drowned in just a few inches of water.