DIY: Cardboard water play easel for preschoolers

by Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. on July 8, 2011

in DIY, Water Play Easel

I just love all the water wall ideas that I have read about over the summer. Most of the water walls are far more ingenious than what I have to share but I really wanted to try making one that I could move around easily so I made a water play easel instead.

I started out with a heavy piece of cardboard. I got this piece of cardboard from our local box recycling place. It is fairly thick and it was very long. It already had three folds in it so I just trimmed it up to make it stand like a large easel…

Of course, cardboard is going to break down as it gets wet so I will eventually just haul it back to the recycle place when it is no longer usable. To make it last a little longer, I painted it with some high gloss spray paint. I chose white so I could use colored water and be able to see the water more easily as it flowed down the wall…

To make water flow in different directions, I cut up a variety of 2 liter and small plastic drinking bottles to attach to the board. The bottles make great funnels and the two liter bottles make great catchers at the bottom of the wall. Since all the bottles are see through, the water can be easily seen…

To attach the bottles to the board, I simply used a screw driver with a pointed end to poke a hole through each bottle and through the cardboard.  I chose a skinny screwdriver so the holes would be fairly small. Then I pushed short screws through the hole in the bottle and the cardboard and added a nut on the back to hold the screw in place. The way the bottles are attached allows you to turn the bottles to the left or right so you can adjust which way you want the water to flow. I thought about using velcro instead because you could get the same idea and move the bottles from one location to another more easily. Next time, I may try that…

I left the lids on some of the bottles which allows you to stop the flow of water too if wanted. The lids can be taken on and off as desired….

I intended to add more bottles to the back of my water play easel but ran out of time before my news segment the other day. So instead I am using the back of the water play easel to decorate with foam shapes…

I simply cut colors of foam craft sheets into a variety of shapes and either dip the shapes into water and stick them on the wall or brush water on with a paint brush and stick them onto the wall that way…

The foam shapes will stick to the water on the board making a fun canvas to explore shapes and patterns…

Lots of potential uses and so far my cardboard water play easel has stood up to the water. I make sure I set it out in the sun to dry out then fold it up to keep it flat at night.  If I leave it standing in water too long, it wants to bend over so letting it dry flat helps to keep it standing nicely….

This is the water play easel all set up by my pool and ready for play!

Here are some links to other water walls…

Planning a new water wall by Let the Children Play

Sand and Waterwall by Child Central Station

Waterpainting with Shapes by Almost Unschoolers


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