Nonetheless, having something to hold in their little hands makes little ones all the more eager to get in and get wet. Having a nearby waterplay alternative like my "pop-up" water tables made from filling a plastic bin or bowl with water is a great way to be inclusive to those who are hesitant around sprinklers or unable to move about independently. Last summer S even cleverly figured out how to pawn off the job of filling our utility bucket with water for him on a willing and unsuspecting peer. I've written about waterplay take-alongs before, but here is an updated and revised list including a new section of art materials, natural items and some especially for the littlest ones!
Just add water, bring a towel and Happy Playing!
Water Play Take-Alongs
- cups, containers, things you can fill and pour from
- measuring cups & measuring spoons
- large paint brushes & sponge brushes
- scrub brushes and sponges
- recycled plastic containers from produce (the ones with holes in the bottom can be especially fun!), pudding cups/applesauce cups/fruit cups
- spray bottles
- empty condiment bottles for filling/squirting
- utility bucket (great for transporting stuff and filling/pouring)
- plastic bin or large plastic bowl for a “pop-up” water table (great for very little ones or those who are hesitant to get in the sprinkler or pool)
- wash cloths and rags
- Ice! Freeze water in ice cube trays or containers of all shapes/sizes--you can add food coloring, glitter, even small toys
“Non-traditional” Water Toys:
- toy cars and sponges make a great car wash--you can even add shaving cream for suds!
- plastic animals or plastic dinosaurs
- plastic baby dolls and washcloths
- Legos/Duplos or Mega Blocks--if building towers indoors on dry land is fun, think how fun it will be in the sprinkler outside!
- plastic food and toy dishes--outdoor tea party, anyone?
- shovels/pales and toys traditionally used in sand are also fun to explore in water
- craft foam shapes and foam puzzle pieces (these make awesome bathtub stickers when wet!)
- Sticks and twigs
- Pine cones, seed pods
- Flowers, leaves
- Wood circles, drift wood
- Rocks and large pebbles
Art Materials--just add water!
- Watercolor paints
- Sidewalk chalk
- Watercolor pencils
- Things to paint/color on: Paper, white coffee filters, paper towels, tissue paper
- Things to paint with: paint brushes, sponges, squirt bottles and spray bottles
- Paint with water books (available at Dollar Tree)
For the Very Young:
Set up a “pop-up” water table using a bin or bowl of water (or a few) and choose some add-ins:
- Frozen teething toys (great for teething babies!)
- Teething rings
- Water safe plastic rattles and baby toys
- Any materials from the above list that are not choking hazards