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Playing at the Sink

Sweet Pea is 24 months old.


From: My mom suggested this.  She says that she used to do this with me when I was a tot.  🙂


  • Sink.
  • Sturdy chair or step stool.
  • Sponge, measuring cups, old produce (like a carrot or piece of lettuce), dish wand or other interesting kitchen items.
  • A large plastic bib (optional).


  • Assemble your items near the sink and turn the faucet onto a cool and very low stream.
  • Put a bib on your tot and put them on a sturdy chair or stepstool in front of the sink.
  • Check to make sure the water temperature is still cool.
  • Show your tot how to stick objects under the stream and watch the various effects.


Observations: Sweet Pea went crazy for this activity.  She could play at the sink for hours if I let her.    She liked just putting her hands in the water, filling and dumping the measuring cups, and pretending to clean the lettuce and dishes too.  The sponge was an especially big hit.


While writting this post, I found an article from suite101.com about the same activity which suggested using (mild, non-toxic) soap and a whisk to show your tot how to create bubbles and I will probably do that at a future date.  I know that the Montessori method recommends an activity for teaching preschoolers how to wash dishes with care but I felt like Sweet Pea was not quite ready for that yet.

This activity is so occupying for Sweet Pea that I have started cooking dinner while letting her play at the sink.  Preparing dinner with Sweet Pea underfoot has always a big problem for me.  My husband and I joke that Sweet Pea can sense when I have raw meat on my hands because she instantly starts crying and insisting that I pick her up.   I try really hard to limit Sweet Pea’s TV time, but frequently I will just turn on Barney before I start cooking.  So far, I can stand right next to her and prepare dinner without her so much as looking at me.


Notes from the Trenches: Your child will be playing with water so supervision is critical.  Your tot could fall, drown, get burned, etc, etc.  Obviously, it is also very wet.  Sweet Pea had to be told to keep the items in the sink several times before she understood not to squeeze the sponge out over the kitchen carpet.  Also, despite the bib plastic bib, water ran down her front, got all over her clothes and dripped onto the wooden chair.  I might suggest only having your tot wear the bib and a diaper.

Rating: 4 stars (Fun, Easy, Independent, Frugal) *


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