Glitter paint isn’t just for paper! Add a splash of glitter paint into your water table for beautiful, colorful, sparkly sensory water play. This is the perfect outdoor activity that will keep your littles ooh-ing and ahh-ing.
Sensory water play is 10x cooler when it’s sparkly
One of the easiest ways to build and maintain interest at the water table is by changing the color of the water.
Color changes everything.
Dark colors feel mysterious, bright colors feel invigorating, and sparkly colors feel magical.
And to make sparkly water? It’s the easiest thing ever.
Related: Sparkly paint also pairs perfectly with our GIANT 10-foot coloring posters for kids!
Kids love sensory water play
And what’s not to love?
We love water play year ’round. In Northern California, our weather usually permits daily water play and our preschoolers can never get enough of it, whether it be July or January.
Other fun water play ideas:
- Pom Pom Water Table – Busy Toddler
- Dandelion Water Table – Happy Toddler Playtime
- Fishing for Letters – Active Littles
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- Shallow containers (clear works best for this!)
- Glitter Paint (We used the Colorations brand here, but we also love Crayola for this!)
- A whisk or slotted spoon
Let’s set up!
- Fill your containers with water. These exact containers are from Dollar Tree, and while they’re not super thick, they get the job done and will last for a long time.
- Add in paint! The paint needs to be mixed into the water, which is easier with some brands than others. If your paint is smooth and you can mix it in with your hands, fantastic. But, if your paint is a little chunky, mix it with a whisk or slotted spoon.
That’s it: two steps!
When the paint is all mixed in, it’s gorgeous and so inviting for your little learners.
Wait, wait, wait: is this going to stain?
This is the most common question we get when sharing paint-dyed water, and the answer is generally no. The paint is so diluted that we have never had it stain.
If you’re nervous about staining, test this out in a small area or do this over grass! Play should be a stress-free, enjoyable experience, so do whatever you need to eliminate worry.
Important: to avoid staining, make sure you’re using kids’ paint (ex: tempera, BioColor, etc.) and not acrylic. Acrylic is an easy-to-find paint at local craft stores, but it’s not what you want for this.
Is a water table sensory play?
Absolutely! When kids are playing with water, they’re activating many of their senses:
- Touch: feeling the temperature of water (warm, cold, cool), holding scooping and pouring materials
- Sound: Listening to splashing, chatting with others, hearing the difference in sounds as water fills a container
- Sight: Looking at the different colors, studying the glitter moving in the water, observing that they can see toys in the water
Three easy ideas for making water tables EXTRA fun:
- Add in your favorite plastic toys: From baby dolls and plastic dinosaurs to foam blocks and race cars. If it can get wet, experiment by adding it into the fun!
- Add scooping and pouring materials: Think bowls, ladles, spoons, miniature pitchers, cups, and the like. Little humans are FASCINATED by pouring and emptying. The best part? You likely can raid your cabinets and find enough items to keep this exciting.
- Bring this outside: When this activity is done outside, it often feels like it can be “bigger” as nobody is concerned about getting the bookshelf or class guinea pig wet.
Sometimes the teacher is an observer, and sometimes the teacher is a participant. Based on years of experience, if you sit down to play this with the kids, they will lose their minds with excitement!
For some science-y reason, loose glitter doesn’t work the same as glitter paint. Loose glitter floats on the top and doesn’t mix in, whereas glitter paint mixes in easily.
Of course! We love dyeing our water with paint, too.
Sparkly sensory water play = 5-star Yelp review
This will become a part of your regular sensory play rotation because it’s that beautiful.
When are you going to try this, too?