STEM in the water tray- 10 ways to play!

When the weather warms up water play is the perfect way for your young explorers to get stuck into STEM, it’s easy to set up and will keep them engaged for hours!

It nurtures curiosity, imagination and experimentation.

It can be used to inspire building projects, promote collaboration and encourage social skills.

To make the most out of your water tray try to:

  • Stimulate their play through interesting or challenging resources and materials
  • Ask them open ended questions, listen actively, model new vocabulary and encourage them to hypothesise
  • Encourage the children to reflect on their explorations by asking them to share with others what they’ve found out

Here are some ideas you can try…

  • Ice cube fishing- fill the tray with ice cubes and provide the children with string and salt. Pop the string onto the ice, pour on the salt and watch the cubes stick!

  • Pierce holes in both large and small bottles, fill them up and ask the children where the water goes…the water escaping from the bottom will squirt further due to water pressure.

  • Add fruit or vegetables and see whether they sink or float…what happens if you peel or cut the fruit/veg?

  • Add plastic pipes or guttering to add as canals and ramps for moving the water or other objects like cars or small world toys

  • Provide a variety of materials like straws, lolly sticks, foil, small cups etc and tape. Can they make a raft that floats? How much can it carry before it sinks?

  • Make a washing line, cut out different shaped items (e.g. trousers, socks, t-shirts) from different materials (e.g. towel, plastic bags, newspaper)- what happens when we wash them? Which dries fastest? Which soaks up most water?

  • Making waves- encourage the children to make waves in the water- what did they use, how did they make them larger?

  • Building bridges- can they build a bridge over the water tray?

  • Provide lots of different containers, bottles, beakers, funnels, tubing, spoons and scoops- this is great for exploring volume and capacity.

  • Fill the tray with coloured ice cubes, what happens when the ice cubes melt? What colours can we make?

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