18 - 48 Months+

4 easy water dropper activities

Toddler doing a STEM activity with baking soda, food coloring, and water

Color play comes alive when you combine it with water! Eye droppers are great for fine motor practice, precision, and focus, and can make an activity feel fresh and new. Here are 4 different activities that will keep your child engaged and exploring color.

If your child hasn’t used a dropper before, give them some time to explore it on its own and with some plain water—it’ll take some practice and coordination to be able to suck water up into it, hold, and then release small amounts at a time.

1. Water dropper tie die

Child pouring water from a pitcher into a glass
  • Start by mixing 10 drops of food coloring with water, about halfway up a small container. Choose a few different colors, one per container. Having your child slowly pour the water in to mix the colors is great for motor, planning, and real-world skills.
  • Lay an absorbent paper towel in your tray.
  • Let your child use the water dropper to add the colorful water to the towel.
Toddler sitting with a baking sheet and a paper towel dropping colorful water on it
  • Encourage them to fill the white spaces, and point out how the color mixes.
  • Let them mix colors in the cups after they’ve mixed on the paper towels.

2. Color bubbles

By adding baking soda and vinegar, the same materials can turn into a new, STEM-based activity—which always elicits some oohs and aahs from a crowd 😲
Here’s how to do it:

  • First, fill a tray with baking soda.
  • Mix a few drop of water colors with 2-3 tablespoons of vinegar (in cups, small containers, or an ice tray).
  • Let your child use the water dropper to drop colored vinegar on the baking soda.
Tray of baking soda with a child dropping vinegar into it
  • Encourage them to fill the white spaces, and enjoy watching them delight in seeing the reaction between the baking soda and the vinegar.
Tray of baking soda and vinegar which caused purple bubbles

3. Salt painting

Glue and salt step up the fine motor work to add letter and shape recognition to the task. Here’s how:

  • Write your child’s name (or draw shapes) on a piece of paper and place it in a tray.
  • Depending on your child’s age, let them trace what’s drawn in glue (if they’re too young for this, you can help them with your hand over theirs).
Child writing the name Rose with glue
  • Shake salt liberally over the letters—let your child shake the salt to fully coat the glue.
Child pour salt on a piece of paper
  • Have your child (gently) shake the paper so all the excess salt falls into the tray.
  • Let the glue dry thoroughly (a great lesson in patience and delayed gratification!).
  • Let them use the dropper to color the salt glue combination.
The name Rose on a red piece of paper

4. Disappearing letters and shapes

Instead of adding colors, now you can make them disappear! 

Here’s how:

  • Use washable markers and draw shapes (or your child’s name) on a piece of absorbent paper towel (coffee filter would work too).
  • Let them drop plain water on each letter/shape to watch them disappear.
Paper towel with colorful water on it
  • Encourage them to name them as they water them, or prompt them by saying “put water on the square” or “put water on the letter A.”


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Posted in: 18 - 48 Months+, Playtime and Activities, Playtime & Activities

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