While living in a small apartment it was often a struggle to find a way to allow our children to have sensory play especially when they were so young and we didn’t have a balcony.
I would set up play inside a blow up swimming pool in the lounge room with towels down on the ground around it. The idea of the pool was that there was an edge to show where the messy play could happen. When things were going to be very messy I would even just set up the play in the bathtub.
Here are some little ideas for the water play:
If your child is hesitant with water play set up the water play table with a very small amount of water that you play with to show hoe it can be used. Then just gently invite your child to watch and join you when they are comfortable.
Use a cup to tip water back and forth you can add food colouring with a dropper to watch it disperse and make this more interesting.
Pour water from a bottle into another container experiment with funnels.
Poke holes in a milk or juice bottle to create a ‘watering can’ and use to shower dolls, toys, toy cars, or even water plants.
Drop food colouring into a clear water container to watch the colour of the water change. Adding an effervescent tablet will cause lots of little bubbles.
Pour water along a path like your drive way with a water can
Use a soup spoon to scour and pour water
Cut a pool noodle in half to make a “river” and pour water along it
Use a spray bottle to spray water – you can add food colouring or liquid paint to make the water coloured. If you add paint you can do “spray painting”.
Use a syringe to draw up the water and squirt onto a target.
Use a dropper to water you magic seeds (these could be beads, seeds, rocks).
Use water pistols to shoot at a target (if you have a child that is keen on shooting things you could shoot down little arm men or less violent they can shoot an actual target image).
Water plants with a watering can (can make one from a plastic milk bottle – put one hold in handle to allow air to enter. Pierce the lid a few times to allow water to come out).
Give a doll a drink.
Bath a doll.
Wash a doll’s hair.
Give a dinosaur or any other plastic toys a drink from a “river” or “pond”
Set up a car wash complete with a sponge and car wash (detergent) to give them a really good clean.
If your child is sensitive to water play I suggest using smaller amounts of water, allow your child to use a tool to handle the water (such as a soup spoon or cup) and gently invite them to play while you are already playing with it. Make it look like it’s the best fun you have ever had to peak their curiosity. As you do everything you explain to them what you are doing, this will help reduce their fear while building your connection and provide opportunities to develop their language skills.