Homeschool Mastery Academy is dedicated to recommending quality resources to benefit homeschooling families. This blog contains and is monetized through sponsored posts and affiliate links. Please see our full disclosure policy for detailed information.
Washing Toys Water Play Activity for Preschoolers
Homeschooling multiple children takes time, and with toddlers or preschoolers underfoot we need solid activities that maximize our time to teach. I love ideas and activities that allow me time to assist my older children and that I can feel good about what my younger children are learning through play.
I know that cleaning toys might not be a unique idea, but the truth is every kid loves to play in the water. Whether they are splashing in puddles or dancing in the rain! This water play activity is a mix of fun and learning for your toddler or preschooler. Sensory bins are something my kids have loved doing as well, and I thought hey, why not toss some toys in a plastic bin and let them work at getting them clean! This water play activity takes zero effort, it is a ton of fun for your little ones, and their toys get nice and clean!
Don’t just limit your child to water play outdoors, bring it in. If you are worried about a mess, let them hop in the tub to play or lay a plastic or vinyl shower curtain on the floor to catch the spills (which there will be). Give your little ones hands-on fun with a twist of learning as well.
I grabbed a bucket of water and then I added just a drop of dish soap, so it would have some bubbles to add another element of fun. Next, we gathered up the dinosaurs and other animals for him to start washing along with a washcloth. The joy and excitement that took place, you would have thought I said you won the lottery! I am not sure if your kids are like mine, but anything to do with water is always a huge success! He began washing his toys, and I laid out a towel for him to place them to dry. Seriously he played in the water with his animals for over an hour. Then a few hours later he wanted to do it again!
How to Incorporate Learning Into Water Play Time
Below are a handful of ways you can work with your child to learn and grow. I love doing fun activities and adding the element of learning as we go. For anyone that homeschools you know that this is a great way to help your child learn and not get burned out from just sitting at a table working. Plus with toddlers, you want to help them to grow, but you also need to make sure it is enjoyable to keep them engaged and not seeming too heavy for them.
When you have animals, trucks and other toys that your toddler is playing with, make sure to use words. Talk about what the name of the animal or toy is, sounds it makes, etc. When you have conversations about things it helps them grow on using words, and knowing what things are. Even talk about the bubbles in the water, or the splashing sound they hear when they drop a toy in. Even if your toddler isn’t talking much yet, you can still work with them, even if they don’t repeat back what you say. They are absorbing the information, and as they grow, they will be able to begin to say the words and sounds.
Assign A Task
Ask your child to pick up the orange dinosaur, or lion out of the container of toys. See if they know what animal is what. Or if you have different colored toy cars or something ask for them to pick up something that is yellow, and see if they know their colors. If not, take this as an opportunity to begin working with them on the different colors.
It is never too early to have your child learn new life skills. Being able to clean and follow the task of cleaning properly is a great lesson for your little one. Teach them how to make sure to scrub all areas, and then sit on the towel to dry after. You could even go a step further and have two containers of water, once to rinse toys after they wash, for a more realistic task of cleaning.
Water play is a great way to let your toddler gain both gross and fine motor skills in a variety of age ranges! This is such a simple activity, and you can use any toys you have that can get wet, and just let them have fun.
Fine Motor Skills • Your little one will work on hand and eye coordination when they work with picking up toys, pouring water out and more. Toss in a few measuring cups or little containers so they can pour the water out and learn to scoop it up and hold steady until they are ready to pour on toys.
Gross Motor Skills • As your child splashes around, helps carry handfuls of toys to get washed, they are working on the gross motor. If they are old enough, you might let them help bring the container of water. Sometimes water play is peaceful, and other times your child is working on releasing built up energy, and they might like to splash more and get a little rambunctious.