Summer Splash: 6 Water Play and Sensory Activities for Babies

Water play can be a great way to help keep your baby cool over the summer, as well as providing opportunities for new sensory and learning experiences. In this article, we’ll explore six water play activities for you and your baby to enjoy together while beating the heat.

Benefits of Water Play for Babies

The activities shared in this article may sound simple, and are certainly simple to set up, but water play can support your baby’s development in more ways than you might think! Let’s take a look at what some of the benefits are:

  • Helps develop fine motor skills
  • Improves hand-eye coordination
  • Can teach problem-solving skills
  • Contributes to building concentration span
  • Introduces maths and scientific concepts
  • Another opportunity to build communication skills

6 Water Play and Sensory Activities for Babies

  1. Sponge Squish

This activity can be fantastic for helping your baby to explore different textures and sensations. For this, you’ll need a range of different baby-safe sponges. To begin, fill a shallow baby pool or bath with a few inches of water. Demonstrate dipping the sponge into water and squeezing it to release the liquid and then allow your baby to experiment by themselves. Ideally, you’ll have various sponges to introduce to your baby so that they can explore plenty of different shapes, sizes, and textures.

The different textures of the sponges can be brilliant in supporting your baby’s sensory development too. Plus, the motion of squeezing can help to improve your child’s fine motor skills.

  1. Sensory Bottle Fun!

Using food dye can be a super easy way of incorporating colour into your baby’s water play session, and you might already have everything you need in the cupboard! The first step of this activity is to fill a clear bottle with plain water. Then, you’ll need to add a few drops of baby-safe food colouring in, before sealing it shut, ensuring your baby cannot remove the cap. Shake the bottle and watch as your baby observes all of the new colours that are made. Older babies can often shake the bottle for themselves!

  1. Floating Toys

For this activity, you can place a few of your baby’s favourite toys such as rubber ducks and plastic boats into a shallow basin or baby pool, filled with water. Similarly to bath time, place your baby in the pool and watch as they try to grab the floating objects, improving their hand-eye coordination. You can even create small waves in the water to demonstrate how each toy bobs up and down.

  1. Pouring Station

All this activity requires is a baby poo,l as well as various-sized plastic cups. First, set up your pouring station outside by filling your pool with water. Show your baby how to scoop water with the different cups; transfer the water into different-sized cups, and demonstrate pouring from higher and lower positions, scooping different amounts of water each time. Encourage your baby to follow, as they experience playing with new textures and hearing new sounds from the pouring and splashing water.

  1. Tray Splash!

This activity is suitable if your baby is old enough to sit up in a highchair. For this, sit your baby in their highchair and place down a plastic, shallow tray filled with warm water for them to splash. If your tray has dividers, you might even want to try adding different food dyes to each section to make colourful water!

  1. Inflatable Baby Splash Mat

Inflatable splash mats can be an amazing way to help your baby become more comfortable in the water. Once your mat is inflated on a flat, stable surface, it needs to be filled with water. Older babies can sit on the inflatable chair and enjoy splash play, while for younger babies, why not try an inflatable tummy time water play mat?

We hope these fun and simple activities will provide you and your little one with hours of fun and bonding this summer! Don’t forget that children should never be left alone when they are playing with water. Ensure all equipment used is clean and sanitised, all materials and equipment used are baby-safe, free from choking hazards, and make sure to test water with your elbow or a thermometer before play. In the case of a medical emergency, please dial 999.