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Lemonade Stand

Three (Mess Free!) Ideas for Summertime Water Sensory Bins

I love summer. I live for summer. Beach time, pool time, lake time—you name it. I’m there. Louie started swimming lessons this summer, and conveniently, it looks like we’re raising a little mermaid (…merman?) who loves the water as much as I do. Needless to say, we’re spending lots of time in the water this summer.

I have a mom confession to make though. The absolute worst part of summer is the fact that we never get out of bathtime. Sweat, sunscreen, saltwater. Bathtime. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Bathtime. I’m tired of bathtime, y’all. During the winter, if you aren’t sticky or stinky, there’s a decent chance we’re skipping bathtime at our house. But summer? I guess you’re soaking in the tub for the fourteenth night in a row. 

If you’re a momma like me, looking for some fun, summer water activities that don’t mean another bath tonight, check out these three water sensory bin ideas below! Grab an empty, plastic tub or water table. Fill it with water, and start playing! Park your little one somewhere cool and shaded, and you won’t even need the sunscreen!

Lemonade Stand Sensory Bin

Outdoor book list

You’ll need:

A water sensory bin or table

Fresh lemon slices

Measuring cups, spoons, plastic drinking cups, etc. 

To Play:

Float the lemon slices, kitchen tools, and cups in the water bin to whip up a delicious batch of fresh-squeezed, make-believe lemonade. Your little one can splash, squeeze, taste and serve up their own pretend lemonade to their heart's content! This sensory bin is a great way to practice pouring and transferring the water from one cup to another, which is important (and fun!) for fine and visual motor development.

Ocean Critter Sensory Bin

Eating outdoors

You’ll need:

A water sensory bin or table



Plastic ocean animals

To Play:

Add a layer of sand to your bin or water table to build an ocean floor, and then top it with water. Drop in the seashells and toy animals to create your own little backyard ocean. Make-believe with the critters, practice naming and identifying the animals, and enjoy a refreshing sensory bin experience with the wet sand! 

Alphabet Soup Sensory Bin

Play dough

You’ll need:

A water sensory bin or table

Plastic alphabet magnets

Plastic play vegetables

Pots, bowls, ladles, etc. 

To Play:

Add the alphabet magnets, vegetables, pots, bowls and kitchen utensils to the sensory bin to mix up some alphabet soup! For the littlest kids, scoop, mix, play, and talk about the foods they see. For preschool-aged kids, practice naming letters that you find in the soup! 

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About the Author

Brittani is a thirtysomething wife to Jeff and momma to one year-old, Louie. When she isn’t chasing around a rascally toddler, she works full time as an elementary educator in an urban school district, teaching many immigrant and refugee students. At home and in the classroom, she’s a firm believer that play is learning and mess is creativity! Over the weekend, you can catch her DIYing her latest home renovation project, sipping an iced coffee with oat milk, or exploring St. Louis with her family! 

Brittani Allen

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