Pouring Water


Description: This activity encourages the child to experience the task of caring for themselves, practice their control of movement, and the cause and effect if there is a spill. See this link for a short video of a child completing this task feeling satisfied with their actions. 

Goal: This practice is to develop large and fine-motor coordination. Cognitively, it provides opportunities to discover how to pour without spilling. The social and emotional goal is to develop concentration and independence.


  • A small pouring vessel (in the classroom we have small glass pitchers. At home, use what is available)
  • a water source
  • a child sized cup
  • and a piece of sponge (in the classroom, we cut sponges into 6 or 8 tiny rectangles for the child to wipe up spills.)


  1. Create an area where these items can be accessed independently and when desired.
  2. Model steps to pour water into a pitcher for your child. 
  3. Fill the pitcher with about 1 – 2 inches of water and bring it back to the table where your cup is located.
  4. Pick up the pitcher with one hand on the handle and the other hand under the spout of the pitcher.
  5. Align the pitcher spout with the center of the cup (lifted up away from the cup).
  6. Slowly pour the contents of the pitcher into the cup.
  7. When finished modeling, clean up by putting the cup into the sink or dishwasher, where it will be cleaned. 


By providing a demonstration of expectations first, the child is then free to practice at will, provided that they are being safe with the materials and their space, themselves, and others. 

Using careful and gentle movements helps the child to see the intention required to perform the activity.

*If it is observed that the actions could cause harm or damage, it’s acceptable to explain that the child is all done for now and can try again when they’re ready to make safe choices.

Tips: If possible, provide a clear pitcher and glass. This allows the child to visually see what is occurring inside both the pitcher and the cup.

Add challenges: smaller mouthed cups, larger cups and more trips to get water to fill the cup. 


Warm water up and add a teabag of chamomile or peppermint to the cup. Allow the tea to steep 2-4 minutes and then practice taking sips. 

Use this as an opportunity to model and allow the child to practice other tasks like scooting in their chair and cleaning up.