Ocean Water Play

Water play is a house favorite activity around here. Playing in water can be as relaxing or exciting as you or your kids want it to be. I love creating opportunities for water play with my kids because of all the cognitive and emotional benefits that can be packed into a water play experience. 

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Benefits of water play activities:

  • Sensory play with different temperatures and textures

  • Fine motor skills practice through picking up and maneuvering objects with different methods/tools in their play activity

  • Problem solving

  • Pretend play and role rehearsal

  • Distraction (from hunger or to allow you a break from chasing them around; from pain while hospitalized; from worries)

  • Can be done independently, in parallel (kids playing side by side), or with others

  • FUN

I’d also like to add:

- Easy set up

- Can help make very distressing medical experiences less scary and painful (e.g. burn care treatments)

- May increase compliance with treatment and cares (e.g. Cystic Fibrosis best treatments, albuterol treatments for asthmatics, etc).

- If it gets a little messy, that’s okay! It’s just water. My disclaimer is: be careful and asses carefully if considering doing it during certain procedures and with children who have feeding tubes, drains, IV catheters, etc. Best to get permission and support from medical team when facilitating.

Get your dose of vitamin SEA and play with this easy peasy ocean play activity:

Ocean sensory play in action! Scooping, spilling and searching for treasure!

Ocean Water Play: Treasure Find Activity

Supplies needed:

  1. Large bowl/emesis basin

  2. Water

  3. Seashells (substitute any “treasure,” like rocks, large glass beads

  4. Various tools for scooping, moving and sorting (e.g. spoons, recycled plastic scoops from powder drink mixes, or these awesome handy scoopers from Learning Resources

  5. Shiny “grass” advertised for Easter egg stuffing/basket filling as “seaweed"

  6. Optional: differing sized/colored cups to sort and hold “treasure”

  7. Optional: additional plastic ocean animals/squirters

*this activity suggests using small items that are a choking hazard for children under the age of 3. Please use your judgement of the child’s developmental level and supervise all young children during this activity. 


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