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September 06, 2018

20+ Montessori Ways to Play with Water

So many children are naturally attracted to water as a source of play and work. In Montessori, we make no distinction between a child's "play" and "work." They are one in the same. We respect a child's exploration and provide opportunities for meaningful contributions to the child's environment. Many of these contributions include the freedom to work with water. I've talked before about the importance of offering water to your child, and it's connection to independence. 

20+ Montessori ways to play with water with your child in your home - practical life ideas including water.

At 21 months, a lot of the work that Augustus chooses has to do with water. Not only is it a sensory rich experience, but much of the work is practical which makes it even more appealing to a toddler. Here are some Montessori ways that we play with water in our home! 

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All The Washing

Washing all of the things is high on our list of water play! The younger the child, the simpler each of these tasks can be. For a baby, it may just be exploring a wet rag. For an older child, it can be the entire washing process! Here, these are all practical tasks with real meaning to the child. Some examples include: 

Washing dishes
Scrubbing a table
Washing hands - this one is very popular with all of my kids as babies and toddlers. Nora and Gus could both spend up to an hour washing their hands over and over again in their children's sink. 
Spraying windows - using a small spray bottle can help make this process easier for you and your child
Mopping Floors
Washing clothes - this is one that I would personally like to incorporate more into our home 
Wiping up spills 

Plant Care 

Plants are another great source for water play in Montessori environments. And, often lead to other water work - like wiping up spills or mopping! Having a variety of plants that have different water needs is a great way to mix up the type of play/work that is happening. Here are just a few examples:

Watering with droppers - this is great for plants that don't need a ton of water but that children like to give attention to.
Using a watering can 
Watering with a hose
Misting plants - often a slightly easier/cleaner way to water plants, some plants also like a good misting
Filling vases for flowers - this can mix pouring and funnels and requires precision that older children like
Wiping/Washing leaves

Self Care/Care of Others

This is another huge area in Montessori environments! Learning to care for yourself or someone else is an important step on the journey to independence. And, just so appealing to young children. Again, the younger the child, the less complicated/independent these will be.

Drinking from a cup - this often leads to other fun play like cleaning up a spill
Pouring drinks - here I mean real and practical work
Preparing meals - filling pots, adding water to a recipe, wiping up a mess, there's so much potential for water fun when cooking
Washing a baby doll - washing a small hard baby can be a great way to help practice some of the practical life skills that young children are learning.
Helping to wash a pet


There are so many different Montessori transferring works that can include water. Here these are often set up on little trays that allow a child to move water (or something in water) from one bowl to another. These trays can be particularly attractive to 3-6 year old children who are learning to refine their fine motor skills, and many will be present in Montessori classrooms at this age. For toddlers, these trays often lead to a bit of a mess. They can be fun from time to time, but toddlers generally are much more interested in real and practical experiences (actually pouring a drink, for example). 

Pouring - pitcher to pitcher, pitcher to cup, tea pot to cups, larger pitcher, small pitcher! The possibilities are endless, you just need some creativity!
Measuring - pouring only a certain amount, using graduated cylinders, or a scale
Squeezing - try with a sponge or a rag and move water from one bowl to another, a turkey baster would also work for this motion
Droppers - similar to squeezing but a more precise motion


Some of these may be more Montessori inspired or Montessori friendly and wouldn't necessarily be found in all Montessori environments. But, these can be fun additions to a Montessori home. 

Water table - depending on the table there are tons of possibilities here. Whether it's just splashing in water, to playing with animals or some other sensory bin type play a water table is engaging 
Art - From watercolors to using a Buddha Board, there are so many possibilities here too.
Playing in the rain - And of course, just get outside! Kids will find so many opportunities for play and exploration when the weather may not be "perfect"

20+ Montessori ways to play with water with your child in your home - practical life ideas including water.

How do you incorporate water play into your home? What does your child enjoy? 


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