Summer Sensory Fun with Water

By: Elizabeth Tenace, OTR/L

School is out for the summer!  So now what can you do to keep the kid’s busy while at home??  Water tables are a great way to cool off, have fun, and develop some skills in the summer months. You can purchase a variety of water tables in stores or from therapy catalogs, but it is also easy to make your own from a children’s wading pool or a large shallow storage bin (the type that goes under the bed are my favorites). These bins/tables can be set up in a yard, porch, or patio and then filled with a few inches of water. A variety of toys and tools can then be used which are fun AND develop skills. Almost any pool or tub toy will do, but here are a few of my favorites:

Measuring cups and spoons:

Work on measuring and math skills while having fun in the water. Cups or spoons can also be utilized in other mediums like sand, rice, beans, or dirt.

Sponges of all shapes and sizes:

These provide a lot of sensory input, strengthen hands, and can also be thrown to a target to work on ball skills. You can make your own sponges at home out of regular dish sponges or purchase fun shapes and colors or sponge balls depending on the type of activity or game you want to play with your child. Sponges can also be used for painting indoors or out, filling buckets with water, or relay games.
Squirt toys and Spray Bottles:

Any of these toys can be used to strengthen hands or to play games—who doesn’t love a good water fight? Depending on the style, some can be used on the water table, in the bathtub or in a small pool.

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