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Sensory water: pouring & scooping

What you need

  • Deep tray or another container (see further suggestions below)
  • Water
  • Kitchen items for scooping and pouring.


Fine and gross motor skills, high levels of engagement and fascination, hand-eye coordination, emerging understanding of mathematical concepts such as capacity.

The experience

Use some water (you can make it coloured by adding food colouring, or watered-down paint if you have any) 

This experience is best in a deep tray (if you have an empty sandpit or paddling pool this would make an ideal container!) If this is not available a large bucket or washing up bowl or even a large empty tray would all work too. 

Add lots of different objects for pouring and scooping, such as wooden spoons, ladles, ice cream scoops, ice cube trays, measuring cups and jugs of assorted sizes. You could also add empty boxes and plastic containers such as bottles and bowls. You will be amazed at how long your little one will be able to focus on this experience. They will be fascinated as they scoop, pour and observe how much water they can fit into each container or scoop. This is not only good for essential fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination but also helps develop the ability to focus on something for extended periods of time and builds an emerging understanding of capacity and measuring. 

If you have a sandpit, hours of engagement can be found through providing these types of resources with dry sand, to focus on pouring and scooping.