If you are a parent, you know that kids love playing in water. At least my kid does. In an attempt to keep three toddlers busy (I was babysitting for a friend), I shooed them outside and gave them a few containers filled with water. Then I gave each kid a measuring cup.
I didn’t have to wait one second before they were scooping the water and watering the flowers, watering the grass, watering the sand, watering the concrete, and watering themselves. They filled the large watering can with rocks and then started dipping the water out.
As it turns out, toddlers are learning quite a bit when they play with water. They learn about volume, problem solving, they are learning about the world around them through observation. They learn new vocabulary (if you are playing with them and telling them about funnels, scoops, pouring, dripping, etc.), they practice physical skills. I could go on, but I’ll just send you here if you want to read more about all the things toddlers will learn from water play.
To set up an easy water play station outside, all you need are a few large (plastic) containers – we used a bucket from a no-longer working ice-cream maker, a large watering can, and a plastic tub. Add a few measuring cups for dipping and pouring, but you can add funnels, slotted spoons, sieves, turkey basters, sponges, etc. Anything that can hold or pour or squirt water.