I don’t know about your kids, but mine LOVE water play. We spent a lot of time playing in water sensory bins outside this summer, and one of the household objects I put in it was a dish sponge. It was by far L’s favorite object to play with in the water bin, but I couldn’t have it in there for too long before N would start sucking on it. So I took it out and put it in a water transfer work just for L inside.
I found a tray with high sides to contain spills at the dollar store and put two shallow bowls on it. I put some food coloring in water [Just a little bit! In case you’ve forgotten, I can’t stand food coloring] and poured some into the bowl on the left. I cut a dish sponge in half so it was the perfect size for L’s toddler hands. I showed her how to push the sponge down into the water and pointed out that it sucked up some of the water.
I then showed her how to squeeze the sponge over the bowl on the right to get the water out of the sponge and into the bowl. We then repeated the activity until the bowl on the left was empty and the bowl on the right was full.
L LOVES this work! She will spend a good 15 to 20 minutes with it. If she misses the bowl when she’s squeezing the sponge, she can move the bowl and suck up the water directly from the tray. This work develops hand strength and hand-eye coordination while giving an indirect lesson on the properties of different objects — specifically the absorbency of the sponge.