I get it, it can be a little scary as a preschool teacher to put water and eye droppers out for your students to play with. What if they shoot water at each other? What if they dump the whole thing on the floor. Then they will help you clean it up. I encourage teachers to try this activity because even very young children ( my students are all almost 3 or just turned 3) can do this without you hovering. Giving children opportunities to be independent isn’t just about letting them get their coats on by themselves, it’s about giving them chances to be responsible and trusting them to live up to our expectations. Of course, we will be watching and step in if needed but resist the urge to step in when it isn’t called for. This simple color mixing tray is a perfect first step for adding some water play into your classroom.
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Start by adding a little paint to the cups in the muffin tray.
Now add water. I don’t add too much because while I am trying to offer my students more opportunities to be responsible and explore I don’t want to have a massive mess to clean up either. Set everyone up for success.
Pop it in a bigger tray, add an eyedropper ( I like these one piece ones best) or two and get ready for the kids to have a blast.
At one point I had three students all working on it together. I admit I was a little worried that there would be too much jostling but they lived up to it.
If you don’t want to hunt of all the different materials you can also buy this color mixing set – it’s all ready to go! This complete set from Montessori Services is the perfect option for any preschool class.
While the benefit to my teaching was that I am learning to trust my students more, and to offer them more responsibility the benefits this activity offers the students are even greater. They, of course, learn about color mixing and how colors work together but their fine motor skills and coordination are working together to get the water into and out of the eye droppers. It’s a worthwhile activity however you use it.
Want to include more water play in your classroom? Check out this list of must-have tools!