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Toddler-Friendly Water Activities to Get Your Through Summer

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Latest Stories

Welcome to the (safety conscious) splash zone.

There’s a great piece of parenting advice which applies to almost everything: Just add water. If they’re upset, crabby or overstimulated, give them a glass of water to drink, run them a bath, take them to the pool or ocean, or set them up to do some water play. Note: these things work for adults too. We really are simple creatures.

What is waterplay?

It can be as simple as giving an older baby a bowl of water and some plastic cups to busy themselves with, setting up the paddling pool for your toddler, or letting your little kid play with a water gun. Firstly, some obvious but very important safety rules.

Safety Rules for Waterplay

  • Drowning can happen quickly and quietly, close and constant adult supervision at all times is key.
  • Babies and toddlers are top-heavy and can’t always lift themselves out of water if they fall, which means even shallow water is a risk, again, close and constant supervision.
  • Keep water amounts shallow in paddling pools or wider vessels.
  • For smaller children, keep water vessels small, like cups or jugs.
  • If doing waterplay at the sink, ensure your child can’t turn on the hot water.
  • Know how to do CPR on infants.
  • Empty baths or paddling pools as soon as you’re finished.
  • Teach your child to swim and the importance of water safety.
  • Use swim nappies.
  • Be sun safe with sunscreen, hats and keeping your little one in the shade.

Waterplay Activities for Babies and Toddlers

  1. Sponges, cups and toys: Set them up with some water, either at the sink, or with a tub on the floor and let them place water resistent toys (bath toys are best), different sponges and some small cups they can scoop and pour from.

  2. Paint the house: Great for older toddlers and preschoolers, on a day when the sun is shining, set them up with some brushes and water, and let them have at the wall, painting with the water. The water will (temporarily) change the colour of render or bricks, igniting the inner DIY-er in all of them.

  3. Laundry bucket bath: On a hot day, put some shallow water in a laundry bucket, add baby and let them have at it. A few baby-friendly bubbles will make it more fun as they splash about.

  4. Create a Calm Down Bottle: Babies will love to look at the finished product but older toddlers and preschoolers can help with the creation. DIY Calm Down Bottle Kits creates a sensory play toy developed to bring your child back to earth. Water is combined with creative elements to make a toy that helps children self-regulate their breathing and improve their focus. Think of it like a magic wand for tanties. Getting them to help make it adds a level of engagement and connection. It comes with everything you need, just add water and a dash of washing-up liquid (for bubbles) and let them add the other elements.

  5. Float or sink: Set up an outdoor water station and allow them to collect things from the garden to place in the water to see if it sinks, or floats.

  6. Baby doll bath: A hot at child care centres, set up a tub of water and let your baby give their (waterproof) baby, a bath. Bring them a wash cloth, and a towel to dry the baby off along with any other tools that would help them finish the bath routine, just like their own. You could even incorporate a little first aid imaginative play with the Kynd Doctor's Set.

  7. Sprinkler run As long as there are no water restrictions, why shouldn't watering the lawn also be an opportunity for fun? Right before bedtime, when it's still hot but not sunny, getting out the last of their energy by setting up the sprinkler and letting them have at it. Running under the sprinkler is practically an Aussie kid right of passage, but it's even funner when the sprinkler looks like a cyclops.


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