Let Them Grow: Water & Color

Let Them Grow by Candice Chouinard

Water & Color

It is still summer and that means it is still time for toddlers and preschoolers to play with water. Water has been the theme of our lives over the last six weeks and I love it. I love watching children mesmerized by water play. Pouring and measuring, filling and carrying and dumping – the only thing that makes it more fun is adding color! Here are some easy and fun water based art projects to keep your little one engaged in sensory and science play.

Oil and Water

Using a 1”-2” deep tray, add water and tempera paint. Offer a small container of vegetable oil and an eyedropper. Encourage your child to drip oil from the eyedropper into the colored water. After they have added some, have them dip a paper into the water. When it comes out, it is beautiful. Let dry and marvel in your paper marbling.

Watercolor Flowers

Using white coffee filters and water-based markers, color the coffee filter. Dab the markers and fill the filters with as much colors as possible. When they are done coloring, fold the filters and dip the end in clean water. Watch as the color runs into itself and creates beautiful rainbow paper flowers. Use this time to talk with your child about what colors combined make other colors and how colors blend to make new colors.

Bubble Painting

This activity is best done outdoors in a water table. It is another take on paper marbling, but using bubbles and tempera paint. Fill your water table with water, add bubbles and mix away. Let your older children use straws to blow bubbles in the water (Side note: little ones will drink it right up through the straw so be careful). Once the bubbles are fully foaming, add tempera paint and mix more. Dip your paper carefully on the top of the bubbles, just kissing them just a little. The texture of the bubbles on the paper, make a beautiful print on the paper. Let dry and enjoy.

Use summer water play for free science play and exploration. I find it to be the most satisfying part of the year. Enjoy what is left of it.


Candice Chouinard has worked with youth of all ages and backgrounds, creating and implementing programming for children. She revels in hands-on, long-term, messy projects that are both fun and educational. Candice comes from a background in creative writing, as well as, child development and psychology. She owns and operates a daycare in Northampton, MA.



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