Toddler Water Play: Color Tubs

Summer is just around the corner and Texas temps have already climbed into the 80s and 90s, which means my little ones are chomping at the bit for some water play! Today I am sharing an idea from one of my early tot school posts when the twins were only about 16 months old (almost 2 years ago!). It was super simple and easy to set up, but you can tell from the photos just how much FUN they had with it!

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Toddler Water Play: Color Tubs

Toddler Water Play: Color Tubs

This multi-sensory color exploration took only a few moments to prepare. First, I rounded up three clear plastic storage containers from around the house.  I put those on our patio, added a squirt of bubble bath (I’d leave that out next time) and a few fizzy bath drops to each tub, and filled them up with water from the hose.  Here’s what they looked like at this stage:

Toddler Water Play: Color Tubs

Next I added balls from our ball pit to match the colors in each tub. At this age, I just let the babies loose to explore the water as they pleased.  A slightly older child might enjoy making a color-sorting game out of this…bring the balls out all mixed together in a container and have your child toss each ball into the matching tub of water.  Lots of room to expand on this idea!

Toddler Water Play: Color Tubs

I wasn’t sure whether the twins would want to just play with the balls from outside the containers or jump right in, so I put them in their swimsuits just in case. Of course, they jumped right in and had such a great time climbing in and out of the different color tubs, splashing, kicking, and transferring the balls from one tub to the next. This was definitely one of the most simple and engaging activities we did that summer!

Toddler Water Play: Color Tubs

Developmental Skills

This simple water play activity was packed with opportunities for developmental stimulation. In the area of language development, this was great for reinforcing action vocabulary such as “splash” and “throw,” prepositions such as “in,” “under,” and “out”, concepts such as “wet” and “dry,” and obviously color words.  The twins talked to each other quite a bit, too, which was great to see at this age. It was fun to see all the joyful interaction and opportunity for early social language such as shared enjoyment and joint attention. Obviously there was lots of fine and gross motor play happening as the twins threw balls, jumped in and out of the tubs, splashed, and generally romped around.  For kids who are a little older than mine were, this activity would provide opportunities for playful learning in the form of color matching and sorting (early math) and even color mixing.

Color Tubs: Easy water play for toddlers

More Great Stuff for You

Looking for more fun ideas to explore the world of color with little ones? Here is a collection of over 30 colorful ideas for toddlers from our archives- you’re sure to find something to keep you busy this summer!

30 colorful activities for toddlers


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