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Water and Paper Sensory Play

It was a hot week. It is still hot. At this moment my husband is blowing up an air mattress so we can sleep downstairs, because upstairs is just too hot. Our 2nd floor AC went out today. Despite the heat we spent a lot of time outside this week, of course we were almost always doing something with water when we were outside:

Monday- Musical Instruments (xylophone, tambourine, bells, drums, whistles, lots of fun!)

Tuesday- Sprinkler Play date 

Wednesday- Library Story Time  

Thursday-Water and Paper Sensory Play

Friday- Water Balloons (3 year old; he would throw them at us, 17 month old; squeezed them until they popped and splashed water all over himself, which is probably a better way to stay cool in this heat)


Activity of the week: Water and Paper Sensory Play



A medium sized  tub for each participant or 1 large tub if your kids can handle sharing (I like clear tubs so I can see what they are putting in each tub without standing over them).


A magazine or two ripped up (we used a Reader's Digest and some junk mail)

Couple pieces of foil (really optional, the boys didn't really care about it this time around)

Spoons, cups, cans etc (make sure to use a can that has been opened with a smooth edge can opener so no one walks away with cuts on their fingers)

A place to get messy (in our case the backyard)


What to do:

Give each child a place to sit, their own tub filled up about half way with water and equal piles of paper and foil. Also give each child a cup or can and a couple of different utensils. For my sanity, I do my best to make sure things are as close to the same as possible. Then let them dig in!

My kids had a blast with this activity.  Both of them! I loved watching how differently they approached the process. My 3 year old wanted to stir the paper into his water with a spoon and add more as fast as possible, while my 17 month old would smash a piece of paper into the water with his hands and then remove it and lay it out next to him. My 3 year old wanted to sit on a towel and wear all of his clothes, while the 17 month old was happiest in a swim diaper pulling water out of the tub with a dipper and filling up his little tin can. They played together for a little bit and they played separately. It was so nice to just watch them enjoy an activity without needing to provide a whole lot of guidance. We talked about how the paper felt when it was wet, what was happening to the paper as it stayed in the water, and all kinds of other little tid bits. Just make sure you are very clear on your rules regarding the wet paper. I knew that I did not want to pick thousands of little bits out of the grass, so any that  somehow scampered away from the  water tubs were to be immediately picked up by my 3 year old, discouraging any massive paper dumping. All in all it was wonderful activity.

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