Rocks + soap + water = the best sensory table ever! Your kids will go crazy for the rockin’ awesome wash the rocks water table activity.
The wash the rocks water table activity is solid gold
Well, it’s solid whatever-rocks-you-have-in-your-backyard.
And for this activity, the dirtier the rocks, the better.
Whenever we do this with our preschoolers, I just walk around to my side yard, fill a bucket with some of the dirtiest and muddiest rocks I can find, and it’s time for magic.
Related: Our giant 10-foot coloring banners are perfect for outdoor play, too!
Is wash the rocks going to be your new favorite water table activity? Of quartz it is.
The only thing better than a water table that’s easy to set up is one that kids can set up with you.
Yep! With you.
They can gather rocks, gather scrubbers, fill the containers, and together this is easy breezy.
Looking for more water table ideas? Look no further!
- Berry Basket Water Table Upcycling Activity – Friends Art Lab
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- Water Table and Pom Poms – Happy Toddler Playtime
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- Rocks – make sure they’re at least a little dirty
- 3 plastic containers
- Soap – I used dish soap here, but we often use tearless baby shampoo with our preschoolers
- Scrub brushes and/or sponges
- Gather rocks from your yard (if you don’t have rocks, ask a neighbor to borrow some of theirs and tell them you’ll bring them back nice and clean 😂)
- Prepare the plastic containers by adding the rocks in one, soapy water in another, and clean water in the last one.
- Invite your child to clean the rocks by first rinsing and scrubbing in the soapy water, then rinsing off in the clean water.
If you’re new to water tables, this might initially seem basic and boring.
It’s anything but.
KIDS. LOVE. THIS. WATER. TABLE.
I’ve done this with four-year-olds, and I’ve done this with 12-year-olds, and it is A SENSATION.
The only problem you may encounter is the speed at which the rocks are cleaned and how quickly they’ll want more.
(This makes me think of “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie…” but instead, “If you give a kid some rocks and water…”)
How do you clean a kids’ water table?
One of the best things about water tables is how easily they can be cleaned up.
When your child completes this activity, grab the hose and rinse your play area off if needed.
Once we rinse the plastic bins, we also run them through the dishwasher for extra cleaning.
Pro tip: if you do this activity over grass or near a garden area, the water used when rinsing for clean-up time goes directly back into nature.
As for the rocks, toss ’em back into your yard and enjoy how shiny and new they look.
How long does this activity last?
The length of time will vary by kid, but this easily lasts a week in our school.
We set the activity up “fresh” each day, adding new dirty rocks, and the play continues.
You’re extra lucky if you can do this in a space where kids can collect more rocks on their own, too!
Any that can safely enjoy the activity + not try to ingest any materials.
Ask a neighbor if you can borrow some from them, and if you’re still coming up short, the hardware store sells enormous bags of rocks for cheap!
Here I used dish soap, but often with our preschoolers we use tearless baby shampoo.
Wash the rocks is a gem of a water table activity
I haven’t ever met a water table that I didn’t love, but this one is especially lovely because kids are playing with natural materials.
This one totally rocks. 😉