12 Low-Prep Water Activities your baby and toddler will love!

When your toddler is crabby just add some water and it all gets better. At least that trick works at home. If you are in the mood for some water games then these are some activities I have done at home and my toddler loves.

These activities are aimed for toddlers that are 1-2 years old. (because that’s the age I have tested them. It does not mean older or younger ones can’t explore them too)

For most of my activities at home, I use a kiddy pool or a large plastic bin (which I ca a sensory bin)

1. Painting with Water Outdoors

On a hot day, you can take a painters brush and give your toddler a bucket and let them “paint” the walls, the street, and even their car. Since is just water, it will look like they are painting but it is totally safe.

We were playing with chalk before so we decided to erase our drawings using the brush and water.

2. Painting with Water Indoors

If it’s raining, too hot or even snowing (thinking of you my sister), you can grab a paintbrush, a bucket of water and some construction paper and paint. For added fun, you can draw images on the construction paper for your toddler to pain.

3. Painting with Water Books

When I don’t want a full messy activity, these books from Amazon have been a lifesaver! the images and the colors are already on the page and all you have to do is give your toddler a small cup of water (I use an ice cube tray) and a paintbrush or sponge to draw.

4. Painting with Ice

This one requires a little prep but is not major work. Add some food coloring to water using a popsicle mold. Let it freeze and then give them to your toddler to paint over mixed media paper or heavy cardstock.

For more adventurous fun then how about these water activities… they go from less messy to the very messy.(but can you really say water is messy?!)

5. Play with Cloud Foam

Making cloud foam is super easy and is a lot of fun. Just add some food coloring, water, and soap to a food processor or blender and hit turbo! a creamy colorful foam comes out. You can make different colors to make a rainbow tray or you can use just one color as we did.

I hid some toy coins from the dollar store to make it a scavenger hunt.

Note: Original recipes call for dish soap – Manny (19 months) had foam splash on his eye and it stung him. – he kept running his eye with his foamy hand and needless to say it was a disaster! because of this, I recommend that you use tear-free soap at least until your toddler understands the concept of not rubbing his foamy hands all over his face if foam splashes on him.

6. Scoop and Pouring

Give your toddler a pitcher and some cups and allow them to work on fine motor skills to pour the water from the pitcher to the cups.

Image result for pitcher pouring water activity
see how to make this poring station

7. Sensory Bin Fishing

Using a large bin, add some water, toy balls, and a strainer. Allow your toddler to “fish” the balls out of the bin. (if your toddler is like mine and is so in love with water, then he will want to do the next activity instead)

8. Water Ball Pit

My son cannot see the water because he immediately wants to get in it. It could be a small puddle all the way to a big pool – if it’s water he wants to go in.

Add some water, some balls and let your toddler enjoy this fun pool. He will love splashing, and playing with the balls. Provide a bucket so your toddler can play placing the balls in the bucket and pouring them back in. You can drop them all over him as a fun waterfall of balls.

9. Water + Tear-Free Bath Soap

I love this activity because it doesn’t have to be very guided, just by giving them the chance to play with water they create their own games and exploration. Adding the foam adds a level of excitement. If your toddler is comfortable with foam then you can add extra foam to the game.

10. Making Music with Water

Making music while playing with water can be a lot of fun. All you need is some pots, pans, and a wooden spoon and you can make your own orchestra.

11.Car Wash

Using a small plastic bin a car, add some soapy water, a toy car, and a brush. Allow your toddler to wash his toy car (or cars if you you have more than one) and enjoy this fun but simple game. This activity helps refine your toddler’s pre-writing skills.

12. Go back to the basics

When all things fail and you don’t have the time to set up any of these low-prep activities just get the sensory bin out, add some water and a toy and let them splash and kick. Kicking is a gross motor skill they still need to work on at this age so just because the activity is simple doesn’t mean they aren’t learning a lot.

Even if you just take them to your community pool for a little bit, they can practice some gross motor skills.

13. Set up themerd baths

Bath time can be a lot of fun, create a few theme based activities by adding a few drops of food coloring into the water.

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