Tag Archives: pool

Baby Play: Baby Pool Play

After each of my baby storytimes, I include a Discovery Time free-play session that encourages parents to talk to one another and to interact with their children. I include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to 0-2-year-olds.

Baby pool play is a staple of my weekly after-storytime play. Baby pools are incredibly versatile, acting as a ball pit, a storage bin for puppets, or a container for some extra messy sensory play.

There is no end to the types of items you can put in a baby pool. My favorites include:

  • Ball Pit Balls
  • Pool Noodle Pieces (supervise–watch for chewing)
  • Easter Grass
  • Shredded Paper
  • Unrolled receipt paper
  • Puppets
  • Balloons
  • 2″+ Pom Poms

Messy items can be put in a smaller bin that is placed inside the larger baby pool. This helps contain the mess (at least a little). Messy play items can include:

  • Rice
  • Sand
  • Beans
  • Water

How to Make

Materials: hard-plastic baby pool, choice of filling

Steps:

  • Fill pool with chosen materials

Cost: $10+ (cost depends on audience size and choice of filling)

Time to Make: < 5 minutes

Pro-Tip: Hard plastic pools are more durable than inflatable pools and are a little harder for babies to flip over, dumping out the contents (sometimes including other babies). However, inflatable pools are easier to store and accomplish the same goal.

Conversation Starters

Start conversations as babies play with this tool by asking questions like:

  • What does the ball feel like?
  • How many balls can you pick up at once?
  • Can you hide your arms under the balls?
  • How much grass/paper can you pick up?
  • Can you put the grass on your head?
  • Can you find a yellow pool noodle?
  • What color is the pool noodle?

Stretch Vocabulary

When talking with little ones, use big words and small words. The more new words a child hears, the larger their vocabulary will be when they start to learn to read.

Consider using some of the following vocabulary words when using this activity:

Accumulate
Beneath
Bury
Cover
Crinkle
Deep

Drift
Float
Hidden
Itchy
Light
Mound

Mountain
Pile
Smooth
Swim
Tear
Underneath

Baby Play: Water Painting

After each of my baby storytimes, I include a Discovery Time free-play session that encourages parents to talk to one another and to interact with their children. I include a variety of fine motor, gross motor, and sensory activities that appeal to 0-2-year-olds.

Babies LOVE playing in water, and I love to provide opportunities for them to do so! However, it gets cold in Ohio and not every parent is thrilled about their little one potentially getting soaked after storytime.

Water painting creates the best of both worlds: babies get to play with water while staying dry (and practicing fine motor skills).

Each little one gets a hard surface (trays work well), a piece of construction paper, and a paint brush. Adults get a cup filled about one-third with water. Kids can dip the paintbrush in the water and paint squiggles on the paper (or whatever other surface is nearby).

How to Make

Materials: hard surface, construction paper, paintbrushes (that are only used for water play–babies will put these in their mouths), reusable cups, bucket for clean water, bucket for dirty water, paper towels

Steps:

  • Setup station with materials listed above.
  • Put construction paper on a tray.
  • Adult fills reusable cup with clean water.
  • Child “paints” as long as they like.

Cost: < $10

  • Paintbrushes (Dollar Tree)
  • Construction Paper Pack

Time to Setup: < 5 minutes

Pro-Tip: The water shows up better on lighter colored construction paper.

Conversation Starters

Start conversations as babies play with this tool by asking questions like:

  • What does the water feel like?
  • What can you draw?
  • What happens to the paper when you put water on it?
  • Can you draw a circle?
  • What happens if you use less water?
  • How does the paper feel before and after you paint with water?

Stretch Vocabulary

When talking with little ones, use big words and small words. The more new words a child hears, the larger their vocabulary will be when they start to learn to read.

Consider using some of the following vocabulary words when using this activity:

Damp
Dip
Draw
Drenched
Dripping
Dry

Little
Miniscule
Plain
Pour
Saturated
Soaked

Sodden
Soggy
Sopping
Textured
Torn
Wet