preschool water activities

Preschool Water Activities

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Kids and water go together like peanut butter and jelly. We LOVE spending the summer outdoors whenever we can. Whether it’s splashing away in our favorite inflatable pool, running through the sprinkler, or doing fun preschool water activities in our homemade water table.

Water is the perfect boredom buster for your preschooler and will also get you through some of those extremely hot days.  You don’t need much to make your own “water table” and adding some fun activities to the mix will keep your kiddo coming back for more.

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Water Play & Water Tables

Store bought and structured water tables are perfect for 12-36 month old children, to splash around at shoulder height so they can’t fall in.

As your preschooler gets older and has more control, and is looking for things to do besides just splash around, a homemade “water table” can be the perfect solution for some easy and portable water fun.

Homemade Water Play

In one EASY step, you can make a “water table” with items that you already have at home.

Are you ready? Use a large plastic storage tub, cooler or large buckets+ add water + some toys. BOOM- preschool water table complete!

Your preschooler can easily kneel down next to it, stand next to it, or even sit next to it for hours and hours of water fun.

Use A Cooler As A Water Table

If you don’t have an extra storage container hanging around your house, or don’t have the patience to unload all the items in your storage container, no problem! Grab a large cooler and fill it with water. Make sure the cooler is flat on the ground and does not roll, so it will remain in place.

homemade water table

The cooler works great for some pop up water play. You can take it with you wherever you go and there is zero prep work involved (with the exception of filling it with water).

If you are heading out camping, out for a day at the beach, or a friend’s backyard picnic, add a little water to the cooler and your child can have tons of fun splashing around, playing, or adding any of the preschooler water activities below.

Turn a cooler into a fun water center for your preschool aged child. Add water and allow them to play with the water table for tons of summer fun #watertable #preschoolideas #preschoolactivities

The best part about just using a cooler or a storage container, is It’s not a large bulky item, so you can effortlessly move it from  the front to backyard, to grandma’s house, or store it in the basement in the winter months.

Don’t have a cooler? Use large buckets from the dollar store and fill them with water. The main idea is that you don’t NEED a store bought water table to have fun. Heck, water in a large pitcher could even do the trick. Just get creative, add some water and have fun!

Use large buckets of water for tons of toddler water play. Add bubbles and allow your toddler to play in the water #waterplay #toddleractivities #preschooler #sensoryplay #sensoryboxes

**A “homemade water table” or water bucket as recommended is intended for older preschool aged children under constant supervision of an adult. This activity is NOT recommended or intended for younger children or toddlers who can easily tip over into the water buckets. All water tables should be used at your own discretion on a flat surface. Any form of water play for children should always be closely monitored by an adult at all times.

Water Table Toys

Water table toys and add ins should not be hard to find. Use utensils from your kitchen, your preschooler’s favorite buckets, wands, shovels and cups and add them into the water.

Fun toys to add to your water table. Water tables. toys from the dollar store and odds and ends from around the house #sensoryplay #sensorybox #sensoryactivity #watertable

Ideas of Things to add to the water bucket:

  • Measuring cups
  • Paint Brushes
  • Mild Dish Soap
  • Measuring spoons
  • Squirt bottles
  • Buckets
  • Tupperware
  • Action figures
  • Sifters
  • Spoons
  • Play tea sets
  • Bubble Wands

Preschooler Water Activities

Your kids probably don’t need much help splishing, splashing, and dumping water around in their own water table.

If you want to add fun preschool water activities to encourage learning through play, or if your child is the kind who gets bored easily, here are some fun preschool water activities you can add to your homemade water table.

Do the dishes add bubbles

Add some mild dish soap to the water table, and have your child “do the dishes” the extra element of the the soap adds loads of extra fun to the water table.

Water play ideas for preschool aged children using sensory bins. Add bubbles to a water table and have your preschooler do the dishes #preschoolactivity #waterplay


Have your child count how many dishes they were able to clean, and talk about which dishes are bigger and which dishes are smaller. I add colorful sponges from the dollar store, and you can even give them some old towels so they can dry the dishes.

Create A Recipe

Add tons of measuring cups and measuring spoons and begin talking about the difference in sizes and what they mean. Ask your preschooler to use their imaginations and “make soup.” they get to decide the ingredients (so I bet a lot of you are going to be having pizza chicken nugget soup) while you get to determine the measurements. Tell your child to add one cup of water and one tablespoon to a seperate bucket and mix it up. This preschooler water activity will keep you busy for a long time!

Add Water Beads

Water beads are such a fun addition that can be made the night before and then added to your water activities for endless hours of play. The large beads are so much fun to add to preschool water activities. They grow to be about the size of your child’s palm. Your preschooler can search for and squish around the water beads in the large bucket of water. Remember that just a few teaspoons of the beads will go a long way, in this case when making them, less is more!

Go On a Treasure Hunt

Find some objects that will sink in the water, and ask your preschooler to go on treasure hunt for them. Add tongs to the homemade water table and ask them to find them on the bottom of the sea.

Go Fishing 

Fishing in the water table is a great preschool water activity! This fun bathtime fishing set is the perfect element to add to your homemade water table. Add the fish along with other non-magnetic fish, and ask your child to see how fast they can get all of the fish out of the bucket. Time them and see if they can get faster and faster.

Fishing in a water table. A fun preschool water activity for preschool ages children. Fun and easy summertime ideas #waterplay

Scoop and Find

Add some ping pong balls or other balls that will float into the water table and ask your child to scoop them out into another bucket. If it’s an extra hot day, add ICE and ask them to scoop that instead.

Take Your Friends for a Swim

Add your child’s Barbies, toy boats, action figurines, dolls, or whatever they are into, to the homemade water table and have them “go for a swim.” This is guaranteed to be your preschooler’s favorite way to play in the water. At this age their imaginations run wild, and they will love just being kids and having fun.

Storing Water Toys

If you have a set of water toys that you want to specifically stay outside, my favorite way to store them is in milk containers. That way they can all be neatly piled together in one place, but won’t collect water like a large bucket or container. This will also help prevent molding on your outdoor toys.

Easy way to store outdoor water toys for kids.

What is Your Favorite Preschool Water Activity?

Which activities can you see your kiddo loving? Rainy day got you stuck inside? No problem– check out these fun and easy Indoor Sensory Box Ideas.

Fun and easy homemade water tables for endless summer fun. These amazing toddler activities are simple and require minimal setup #preschoolwateractivities #preschool #summeractivities #summerwaterplay #summerideas #summerfun


Water Play guide for kids. The ultimate guide for fun water play for your toddlers and preschool aged children #waterplay #summeractivities #watertables #sensoryactivities #sensoryplay #toddleractivities

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  1. I love these ideas! I recently priced a toddler water table and did not want to pay so much for such a simple activity. Thanks for these awesome ideas instead Ü

  2. So many fun ideas and I love the idea of using a cooler! My kids absolutely love playing in water and it always keeps them happy and busy for long periods.

  3. My kids are obsessed with water play. Now that this last round of storms is over, I want to get us outside to play!

  4. What great ideas! My little guy loves water & I know he’ll have a blast with these activities! We don’t have a water table because we live out and animals would get in it. I hadn’t thought to use a cooler instead!

  5. These are all such great ideas! We have a water table now, but we haven’t always and we just used large, plastic storage bins and they worked perfectly!

  6. So much fun! We recently got a water table and love it! However, if we hadn’t found it as cheap as we did, there’s no way I could justify buying something that can actually be such a simple thing to put together!

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