Playtime Pinspiration: Coloured water play

Create a coloured water station in the garden for your toddler to explore. Mixing the colours and pouring the water into various containers will keep them entertained for ages.

Playtime Pinspiration - Coloured Water Play

This brilliant Playtime Pinspiration comes from the Happy Hooligans’ colour mixing laboratory. I spotted it a while back and pinned it for the summer, as I knew it was something I wanted to do outdoors…! It’s part of my giant summer sensory and messy play activity list and I’m so glad we got a chance to do it. ToddlerGirl had a lot of fun and, by taking the activity into the garden on a hot summer’s day, there really was minimal clean up involved afterwards.

The set up is very simple. All you need are a few containers for the water (I used differently shaped Tupperware boxes plus a couple of old water bottles and a jug) and the coloured water itself. I just used our normal food colouring from the kitchen cupboard but you can also get liquid watercolours, which Happy Hooligans suggests as they produce a more vibrant colour. I did have to shake in quite a few drops of colouring so that it showed up but this wasn’t a problem.

ToddlerGirl was very excited when I explained to her what we were doing and helped me set up her workbench in the garden with the containers lined up along the top. We made up four different containers of coloured water: yellow, red, blue and green. They looked gorgeous in the sunshine and I’m not surprised that ToddlerGirl couldn’t wait to get her hands on them!

First, she just had fun pouring the water into the various containers, letting it slosh over the top. Then she noticed that when she mixed the colours together, they made a completely different shade. We have talked a little about colour mixing before when painting but not for a while, so it was interesting to see that this activity triggered her memory of our previous conversations. She informed me that yellow + blue made green and red + blue made purple and then gave a little demonstration, which I loved!

Coloured water play for toddlers

She did manage to get through the first batch of coloured water much more quickly than I anticipated, so I ended up doing a couple of trips back to the kitchen to replenish the supply. I’m not sure how to avoid this as it seems inevitable that some of the water will get lost in the pouring and mixing. To keep the activity going, it is either a case of topping up the water as you go or, to make it a bit less work, perhaps having a couple of larger bottles of water ready for when the first lot runs out.

The Happy Hooligans version of this activity uses a lot more implements and utensils than I had to hand, including things like droppers and syringes, as well as a wider variety of bottles. I would definitely try to collect up more items like this to use the next time we try this as it would give a lot more scope for exploring the transferring of the liquid.

You could also use the activity as a basis for talking about measuring, from the gauging of filling a container without the water overflowing to actually making some marks on the containers and challenging your little one to fill to the marks etc. I think ToddlerGirl is ready for this, so I may try chatting about it a bit next time.

For there will definitely be a next time! This activity was a real hit with ToddlerGirl and very easy for me to set up and supervise in the garden. Thank you Happy Hooligans for such a fun Playtime Pinspiration!


2 Comments on “Playtime Pinspiration: Coloured water play”

  1. TheBoyandMe says:

    Such a simple idea, but great fun and has so many different areas for development.

    Nipping over from #OutdoorPlayParty

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