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waterplayWaterplay activities are an important and valuable part of every early years classroom. The warmer months are a perfect opportunity to make the effort and find the time for practical water activities. You’ll need suitable spots in the playground, a water trolley/tray, and a large container filled with suitable equipment (see list) to try these simple waterplay activities.

Measuring water

Using a variety of different-sized containers, students can fill, pour, estimate and compare different volumes of water.

Water painting

Paint an outdoor pavement using large paintbrushes and a bucket of water. Students can explore letters or create works of art and watch them evaporate into the sunlight. How long does their handiwork take to disappear?

Bubble wand

Make bubble wands from straws and string. Dip the wands into large trays filled with bubble solution and practise making bubbles.
Bubble solution recipe:
Mix 3/4 cup dishwashing liquid, 1 tablespoon glycerine (15 ml) in 4 litres of water.


Supply a variety of substances such as sugar, sand, salt, jelly crystals, milk, chocolate powder, rice etc. Measure amounts into glass jars. Mix each substance separately with water to see which dissolves the best in water. Compare, observe and order from the easiest to dissolve to the hardest.

Float and sink

Supply a variety of items for students to test to see what floats and what sinks. Students could predict, sort and record results.

Spray painting

Mix watercolour paints and use to fill spray bottles. On a large outdoor wall or fence, tape a mural-sized sheet of paper. Allow students to create spray paintings. Discuss what happens when colours mix.


Create foil or clay boats. Students can predict and record how many blocks their boats can hold before they sink.

Water drop maze

Create a very simple maze on card/paper. Draw a circle at the start. Cover the maze with a piece of transparent wax paper. Use an eye-dropper of coloured water to place a drop in the circle. While one student times, the other tries to move the drop through the maze with a toothpick. If it separates, collect it into one drop before continuing. How long does it take? Students can predict, record and compare results.

Suggested equipment