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  • Gina

Color Mixing, Water Play Style

The benefits of water play are absolutely endless! On top of the amazing benefits of sensory play, children can explore math concepts, temperature, vocabulary words & work on real life skill such as pouring.

What is water play?

Water play is any activity where children can explore their senses through water. Warm water, cold water, ice cubes- each holds its own benefits and learning opportunities. Add in buckets, scoops & bowls & you have yourself a perfect set-up!

You can add food coloring or leave it as is.

You can add fine motor tools to strengthen fingers, hands and wrists.

You can add gems or rocks or trucks or plastic animals. ANYTHING you want! That is the beauty of it; you can easily cater this activity to your child's interests and abilities.

Water play can also be very calming for kids (and adults!). It is a simple and fun way to incorporate self-regulation activities into your day.

Sensory Play is:

  • An excellent way to connect with your kids (and your own inner child!) as you spend time together making the recipes even before play begins!

  • Eco-friendly: you control the ingredients that go into it and use much less packaging. 

  • Budget-friendly: most recipes last up to 6 months if stored properly.

What are the benefits of water play?

  1. Water play supports fine & gross motor development.  The more kids can squishy & squeeze & smush & pour, the stronger their fingers & hands get. The stronger those hands are, the easier it will be to zipper your coat, feed yourself & hold a pencil. They are also working on balance, coordination & core strength as they play!

  2. Water play supports language & vocabulary.  While kids play, they are exposed to a large variety of language & vocabulary opportunities. They then have frequent opportunities to use what they are learning, as well as communicate their needs, during play!

  3. Water play supports social & emotional skills.  If you are playing with your child or they are playing with a friend, there will be lots of time for them to practice sharing, using their manners, being patient & being a kind friend.

  4. Water play supports self-regulation.  For some kids (and adults) water play is soothing. As they scoop & pour & splash around, they are calming their bodies & working on important self-regulation techniques.

  5. Water play increases focus & time-on-task.  Kids can fall deep into play as they explore a water table. They may just be splashing around or they may be creating & using their imaginations.

  6. Water play teaches Math & Science concepts.  Through hands-on exploration, kids can learn about volume, weight, flow of water, temperature, more/less & weight.

  7. Water play is a fun & inexpensive way to participate in sensory play. During sensory play, children are able to connect to the world around them through their senses . They can scoop & squeeze & dump & pour. They can splash & push. They can smell & taste (sometimes). They can hear & feel & explore texture. So much good can come from one little sensory bin!

Ways to enhance your play:

  • Add in plastic letters or numbers and explore academic concepts such as letter names, letter sounds, beginning reading, number identification, counting, etc.

  • Add in measuring cups & spoons & incorporate math words such as volume & weight.

  • Add a few squirts of food coloring & explore color identification & color mixing.

LOOK AT THOSE FINGERS GO!!!! There are so many opportunities to strengthen motor skills while also enhancing language, learning new vocabulary and practicing critical thinking skills.


  • I wonder if the water is hot or cold?

  • What happens when I mix red water with blue water?

  • How much water can I squeeze into the cup?

  • What happens when I hold the cup under water?

  • I wonder if this gem will sink or float?

  • How much water will I need to pour until the cup overflows?

  • Which funnel makes the water flow faster?

What can you add into your play?

  • Measuring cups & bowls

  • Pipette

  • Medicine dropper

  • Fruit juicer

  • Spray bottle

  • Squirt bottle

  • Strainer

  • Funnel

  • Sponge

  • Paint brushes

  • Gems, Pom Poms & other loose parts

  • Plastic animals

  • Cookie cutters

  • Plastic letters or numbers

  • Nature treasures (flowers, acorns, leaves, sticks, shells)

Will food coloring stain hands?

NO! Once the food coloring dissolves in the water, there won't be any color transfer. That being said, when you are first squirting out the food coloring, be mindful of surfaces and clothes. If it does get on your hands at that point, it washes off with soap and water.

You get to decide what is safe and manageable in your home. Always monitor your children in or around water.


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