Have a child that likes to pour the milk? How about a toddler that insists on tipping syrup on pancakes? Pour to the lines introduces water play measurement in a playful way that will help with a few life skills. Children want to become independent. They love to feel in charge.
Kids need a chance to practice measurement in an open environment without feeling like they may make a mistake. This measurement pouring station is legit. All three of my preschoolers wanted in asap – and it lasted until dinnertime. SCORE.
Who’s ready for water play measurement fun? Let’s get into how to create this activity, so your kids can learn while playing!
RELATED: Love ideas like this? You’ll enjoy our activity cards.
- Food coloring – Add a few drops of this stuff to the water so your children can better see where they are pouring to.
- Painter’s tape – I love this stuff. We use it for so many activities. You’ll want this to create easy lines around your recycled containers.
- Storage bin – I have my dedicated storage bin I always use for sensory play. We couldn’t live without it! You can find one here in this list of Outdoor Sensory Supplies.
- Water pitcher – You need something to add your water to for the kids to dive in! I love this water pitcher to help them pour.
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RELATED: Love water play measurement? We do too. See all our water ideas here.
How to Set Up Pour to the Lines
Step 1. Make a water table pouring station
First, I dug out our 41 quarts under the bed storage bin for our water play measurement table. – The best price for this is at Target. Next, I filled up a water pitcher with water.
Step 2. Create lines on containers
Grab a couple of bottles, jars – whatever you have in the house. Then use painter’s tape to make measurement lines on each recycled container.
Your kids will use these to pour water out of the pitcher and into the containers. The lines help kids to practice holding a steady hand and better understanding measurement.
Step 3. Add a buffer zone
I wanted to create an area with a buffer zone for spilled water and allow my four-year-old to grow confident in his pouring.
Because let’s face it. My preschooler is going to want to continue pouring the milk into his oatmeal. Saying yes is important. We practice now, so it helps later with more strength and muscle control.
Step 4. Add food coloring to the water
I use a few drops of food coloring in the water of the pouring pitcher. Coloring the water with food coloring really helped my four-year-old judge how much water needed to be in each container to reach the line.
Pretty soon, everyone wanted in on the measurement activity!
My Kindergartner could not wait to get his hands on this water play measurement fun and came swooping in. The two of them poured the colored water into one container and back into another.
Step 5. Invite preschoolers to this water play measurement fun!
Encourage them to fill each container to the line and observe from afar.
- Does your child stop once they reach the line?
- Do they acknowledge the line but continue pouring anyway?
- How about strength? Is your preschooler able to lift the container with the water?
Try filling the container up with different amounts of water and see how they handle more weight.
Step 6. Allow your preschooler to explore on their own terms.
Remember that you set the stage and planted the seed. The rest is up to your preschooler. This is the perfect time for children to practice pouring WITHOUT the worry of making a mistake.
RELATED: New to sensory play? Begin with this introduction to sensory play.
The Importance of Water Play Measurement
- Developing through play – My preschooler is learning about math, science, measurement, and gross motor skills through play. – WINNER, WINNER!
- Gross Motor – My four-year-old is pouring, which means he has to lift up that water jug and tip it into another container. That takes a lot of strength from his little arms! The boys poured with a steady hand allowing for some spillage.
- Measurement – He is also filling up to each line and has to judge how much water he needs to reach each point. Both boys made predictions about how quickly the water would reach the line.
Learn why math play is important in this article by Stanford Medicine about a positive attitude toward math.
RELATED: Why do water play measurement activities matter? You’ll enjoy this measurement list I found.
Try This Water Play Measurement Fun
This measurement trick is so simple yet provides hours of entertainment for kids of all ages. – Bonus!
When will you make your water table measurement activity?
Want More Water Play Ideas?
- Easter Egg Water Sensory Bin
- Frozen Water Bead Ice Pods
- Halloween Water Play
- Scoop the Sea – Water Sensory Play
Frequently Asked Questions
Have a child that wants to pour their own milk into cereal or juice in a cup? Good for them! Practice pouring in a water table or sensory bin helps children strengthen this gross motor life skill. When children pour, they practice holding a steady hand, hand-eye coordination and build self-confidence that they are capable of self-help skills.
Water is one of my favorite sensory bin fillers because it is easy to cleanup and children typically enjoy pouring and scooping.
1. Pouring water through funnels
2. Scooping water with measuring cups
3. Adding food coloring to water bottles and watching the colors mix
4. Putting water in spray bottles and aiming for a target 5. Adding water to tubes and watching the water flow through. Here are 35 winning water games for kids.