pouring-water-practical-life*This post contains affiliate links.*

What kid doesn’t love water play? Sicily has been playing around with water since she was young, and I have even introduced water play to Kade already.

But water play is more than just fun, it leads to a practical life skill…pouring water.

My goal is to have small pitchers of water, milk, and juice accessible to the kids at all times for them to get their own drinks. I haven’t been brave enough to actually do this yet, and I’m still trying to figure out a way to make opening the refrigerator easier for Sicily (any ideas?).

But we have started working on pouring water, and she does quite well.

I started by introducing a water pouring station outside several times when Sicily was about a year old. I just laid out big buckets of water along with some of her sippy cups and water bottles.

She would spend all day outside pouring water.


When she started to get better at aiming the water in the container, and making minimal messes, I braved a water pouring tot tray.

I filled a small ceramic pitcher with water and placed it on the tray with a cup. I also laid out a paper towel for her to clean up any messes.

I started the lesson just as I do any tot tray. I model the activity then let her choose the best way to use the materials. For this tray, she decided to do as I had showed her.

Pouring Water Tot Tray

Start by pointing to the pitcher and identifying it. “This is a pitcher. We use it to pour drinks. It has water in it.” I pointed to the spout and identified that as well. “This is the spout. It is where the water comes out.”

Next, I introduced the cup by pointing to it and saying “This is a cup. We use it to drink. It is empty.”

I did the same with the paper towel. “This is a paper towel. We use it to clean our messes.”

Then I showed her how to hold the pitcher with one hand wrapped around the handle, and one finger under the spout. I slowly picked up the pitcher and poured the water into the cup.

I made sure to have only enough water in the pitcher to fill the cup half way. When she gets good at just pouring, I will up the challenge by adding more water then is needed to practice stopping.

When I finished pouring, I set the pitcher back down and said “Now the pitcher is empty and the cup is full.”

Finally, I poured the water back into the pitcher and let her have a turn.


She did quite well with this tray, and I think it’s because of all the practice outside with our pouring station. She did make a few little spills and cleaned up the mess independently.

Pouring water challenges more skills than just learning how to pour water. With this activity the child is working on…

  • Hand- Eye Coordination
  • Hand Control
  • Independence
  • Vocabulary
  • Patience
  • Cleaning up after himself

Are you brave enough to give this tot tray a go?

Happy Learning!