DIY for Grandparents: Create Your Own Water Table!

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DIY for Grandparents: Create Your Own Water Table!

August 22, 2019
posted by Kate Fahrenbach

As a grandparent who is an Early Childhood Educator, I am passionate about providing meaningful, structured play spaces for my own grandchildren. I am having a blast setting the stage to play at Nana Kate and Papa’s house! As a grandparent, I don’t want to fill our home with too many big toys. After clearing out many big, plastic toys over the years from our own five children, I have found that we can easily set up spaces for our grandsons to play in that are fun, developmentally appropriate and easy to clean up between visits. 

I have quickly learned that no matter how many toys we put out, our two-year-old grandsons are most interested in playing with things around the house that they see us using day-to-day. For example, the hottest item in our house is the broom we keep in the kitchen pantry. Instead of encouraging them to play with different toys, I stocked the bottom two shelves of our pantry with child sized brooms, dustpans, baskets of play food and empty containers that can be used over and over again. Our boys love this setup and head to the pantry each time they arrive to our house! 

My favorite project of the summer has been setting up a home-made water table. A simple set up without too many toys sets the stage for productive and meaningful play. This works in the yard, on the patio or, in our case, on the back deck. Here’s the set-up: 

 

Step 1: Place a large container on a small child sized table. I use an enamel wash tub, but any shallow plastic bin will work.

 

Step 2: Fill the container with water and add small buckets, plastic water animals, and stacking/measuring cups. Hand-held fish nets from the pet store are fun, too!

 

 

The fun begins as we sit back to watch the pouring, swishing, filling, dumping, splashing and squirting. While the boys are busy playing in the water, they are strengthening fine motor skills, using their imaginations, and experimenting with spatial awareness. I love to add a literacy component; a fun story to read aloud with water play is 10 Little Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle.

We’ve had so much fun watching the boys play in the water all summer - no pool required.

At the end of each visit, I dump the water, dry out the toys and put them in the garage until next time.