Sand and Water

Toddler playing in the sand at day care with his toy truck

This simple sand and water activity keeps toddlers engaged and happy, promoting development and learning by encouraging children to demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect.

Materials Needed:

  • Large cookie sheet or bin and bowl
  • Kitchen implements, such as a funnel, cups, muffin tins, bowls, and spoons
  • Water
  • Sand or dirt

Participants: This activity is intended for independent play or adult/child interaction.


  • Step 1: In an outside area, give your child a small amount of water and sand or dirt, as well as the kitchen implements.
  • Step 2: Ask him to try mixing a little water with sand or dirt. What happens? What happens if he adds a little water? What happens if he adds more?
  • Step 3: Encourage him to experiment with the kitchen implements. Can he make mud pies, towers, or hills? What else can he do?

Offer a small amount of the material at first and set limits before you start, such as keeping the mud on the cookie sheet or in a designated area. Have a hose ready for easy cleanup.

Bright Horizons
About the Author
Bright Horizons
Bright Horizons
In 1986, our founders saw that child care was an enormous obstacle for working parents. On-site centers became one way we responded to help employees – and organizations -- work better. Today we offer child care, elder care, and help for education and careers -- tools used by more than 1,000 of the world’s top employers and that power many of the world's best brands
Toddler playing in the sand at day care with his toy truck