Spray bottles can make a novel toy and a fun activity for children that like to play with water. You can find small plastic ones for a couple dollars at most grocery stores or pharmacies. They will work across several levels of play and you can use it as an opportunity to model some great language (suggestions listed in parentheses below).
Note: if you are going to re-purpose a bottle you already have, make sure it’s one that is only used for water.
- Fill up the bottle with water. You can help your child hold the open bottle under the faucet, dunk it in a bucket, or practice their fine motor skills of pouring from a cup. (The bottle is full.)
- Spray your child’s hand lightly with water. If they enjoy it, try spraying other body parts. If you pause between spraying they can request continuation of the game by pointing to or holding up the next body part they want sprayed. (Your hand is wet. I sprayed your belly!)
- Help your child take a turn to spray the water on you. (We’re spraying the water. My face is wet!)
- Spray a sponge or wash cloth and watch as it gets wetter. Squeeze it out and start again. (The sponge is very wet. It’s dripping. You squeezed the sponge. The water came out.)
- Incorporate the spray bottle into a pretend washing routine. First, spray a toy animal or figure with water, pretend to wash them with a washcloth or rag, rinse, and then dry them off. You can use a toy bathtub or even a Tupperware. Incorporate shaving cream or foaming soap to make it extra fun!
- Give your child a spray bottle and a rag and have them help you pretend to clean (or maybe actually clean!) surfaces around the house. They can even help you water your plants!
- Pretend a dollhouse or building they made from magnet tiles or blocks is on fire. Drive a firetruck over and use the spray bottle as a hose to put out the fire.
- Set up a pretend car wash! You can use streamers or a duster for the brushes, the spray bottle for the rinse, and a hair dryer for the dry stage, and a towel for the buffing.
- Spray water into the air and pretend it’s raining! Time to get out the rain gear!