Baby Play Ideas: Water Play for Babies

Water play is my pick of one of the all time best sensory activities for children of all ages, even babies! There is just something so engaging and relaxing about playing with water. If you aren’t sure where to start with your little one, here are a few simple tips for starting out with water play for babies.

Baby play ideas: water play for babies

Water Play for Babies

When to start water play with babies?

I introduced water play with each of my babies once they were able to sit well. As it takes mere minutes to gather a few accessories and a shallow splash of water, and as it is so engaging and soothing, it was one of my go-to activities for times when my little ones were particularly fractious or unsettled.

RELATED: For those with toddlers, preschoolers and older children, check out our follow on article, 10 Easy Ways with Water Play.

ideas for baby play- starting out with water play

How to Start Water Play with Babies

Babies don’t need a lot of water but it can be a good idea to keep an extra supply nearby in case it does get tipped out. Pour the water into a small, shallow sided bowl so that it is easy for them to access and reach any toys or accessories.

games for babies- starting out with water play

Keep accessories simple. I like to add two or three small containers that are easy to hold, a spoon or small ladle and a few smooth, flat river stones. Make sure you choose larger stones that do not constitute a choking hazard. If you do not have any suitable stones, a few plastic blocks or shapes will work as a substitute.

baby games- starting out with water play

Your baby will probably get a little wet so be sure to dress them in play clothes that don’t bother you too much if they get messy. If it is really hot and you have a shady spot, just a diaper or nappy is perfect. You may also like to keep a towel nearby for a dry off once you are done.

games to play with babies- starting out with water play

In cooler weather, sit your baby somewhere sheltered, popping them down on a beach towel if you are inside or on bricks or decking, and use warm water instead of cold.

playing with babies- starting out with water play

Sit back and watch your child explore and learn as they play. You might like to talk to them about what they are doing – simply saying what you see, “You are splashing with your hand,” or, “You put the rock in the cup.”

Please note: Children should be supervised closely whenever they are near water. Never leave your child alone when they are playing with water.

activities for babies- starting out with water play

Find fresh, inspiring play ideas for little ones in our co-authored eBook, Zero to Two: The Book of Play.

activities for babies and toddlers

For more fun baby play ideas, check out these related posts;

Baby sensory toys
Baby Play Shiny Treasure Basket Ideas
Best ideas for sensory play for toddlers


  1. I love this idea, I have a little water baby that is 9 months old. It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Adelaide so I am going to give this a go this afternoon, I know he’s going to love it.

  2. Great to see AJ enjoying herself puddling in water, it is a very relaxing and yet great learning opportunity. I also love that Milly is close by in some of the photos, I bet until she got wet!

  3. Water play is one of the best activities even for older kids. When I was an early childhood teacher years ago, I always had a water table and it was one of the most popular activities. I would always add different things depending on the kids ages and then would sometimes add worksheets for them to do like what sinks and what floats.
    When my own kids were little I would try to give them lots of extra bath time with funnels and great water toys as well. Water time at the sink usually ended up being water time all over the kitchen floor.

  4. Hampton Swim School says:

    Anything to do with water my 2 kids used to love to play with and would spend hours either splashing, pouring, washing, swirling and other things they would roleplay. This was so helpful on those days they were a tad unsettled as it would calm them or on those super hot days to cool them down.

Comments are closed.