Indoor Water Play Ideas

Summertime often means pools and sprinklers, but the weather doesn’t always agree with getting toddlers and babies outside. If you have a stormy or extremely hot day, bring the water play inside with these great activities for little ones:

Car Wash

ToyCarsSet up bowls of warm soapy water and clean water, then hand your toddler wash clothes, sponges or even a toothbrush to get a deep clean in those wheels.

They can work on shining up their toy cars, and you get help with keeping their toys clean.


Doll Bath

Use the actual bathtub or a small plastic basin to make a tub for your child’s baby doll. They practice their hygiene skills and you can work on identifying parts of the body as they wash. Finish up with drying baby off and laying her down all clean for a nap.

Paint with Water

ChalkboardCover a chalkboard with a layer of chalk and then paint over it with just water and a brush. The designs should dry pretty quickly, which means you can reuse the canvas over and over with little mess.

You could also write out the alphabet or numbers and let your child trace over it and practice their handwriting.


Magnet Fishing

Grab a pack of fun magnets from the dollar store and build a “fishing pole” with a stick, string and magnet tied to the end. Fill up the bathtub and toss in the magnets as the “fish.” You could even use alphabet magnets and make a game out of catching entire words.

Sponge Transfer

SpongeTransferA popular Montessori preschool activity, sponge transfer is a great game to develop eye-hand coordination, work on concentration and build the hands muscles used for pencil grip. Simply take two bowls, one filled with water and one empty, and a sponge. Let your child soak up the water and transfer it to the empty bowl, one spongeful at a time. You can use food coloring in the water to make it more visually stimulating.

Sink or Float

Gather a bucket of water and random small objects, and you have a science experiment. You can make a chart of the objects (items like coins, feathers, buttons, craft pom-poms, leaves or sticks work great.) Let your child predict if the item will sink or float and then drop it in.