Do your kids like to play outside in the water? Practice early literacy and math skills with a fun water race game. Toddlers and preschoolers can race to learn letters, work on letter sounds, and practice counting and number recognition.
Water Race to Learn Letters and Numbers
My kids love playing with water – in the sprinkler, in the pool, in the bath tub, in the sink, with a squirt bottle, or even just in a bucket. I wanted to practice number and letter recognition with my toddler, so I came up with this fun little water race for her.
- Foam sheet
- Permanent marker
- 3 buckets
- Shovel (optional – you could also use a scoop or a strainer)
I cut a foam sheet into squares and then used a permanent marker to write letters and numbers on them. I wrote capital letters on one side and lowercase letters on the other side. For the numbers, I only used one side.
I filled a bucket of water and placed the foam pieces in it.
Some distance away, I placed the 2 other buckets. I labeled the buckets with ABC and 123.
How to Play:
The goal of the game is to sort the letters from the numbers. Choose a foam square from the water bucket. Run to the other buckets. Do you have a letter or a number? Letters go in the ABC bucket and numbers go in the 123 bucket. Run back and get another foam square.
My 6 year old joined in on the water game as well. I had Aiden tell me something that started with each letter he dropped in the bucket. He liked the racing part of the game and would eagerly run to get another letter.
Lily spent a lot of time swirling the water around and playing with the letters and numbers in the buckets. I would talk to her about the letters and numbers that we saw. I would ask her to find a certain letter or I would ask her to tell me the name of the number. We also talked about the sounds the letters made.
The foam letters and numbers are also great to use in the bathtub. My kids love sticking them to the tub wall. I love that they are interacting with the letters and learning as they play.
More Playful Ways to Learn Letters and Math
ABCs and 123s is a collaboration of several kid bloggers (including me). It has 40+ hands-on play ideas that will help your child build letter and math skills. The literacy and math activities incorporate play, imagination, science, sensory, and art.
Do you subscribe to the Inspiration Laboratories newsletter? Each issue has exclusive hands-on science explorations for children, a recap of our latest activities, and special resources selected just for you!