Water Bin with Tubes and Funnels

If your kids love science activities and waterplay, they’re going to love this. It’s the perfect combination of both!  They’ll be cool and entertained for hours in the back yard with this simple water bin with tubes and funnels.

We have lots of great water play ideas here among the pages of my blog. Water bins are one of my absolute favourite, warm-weather activities for toddlers and preschoolers. They’re easy and inexpensive to set up, and they always keep the hooligans entertained for hours.

waterworks science activities with coloured water, funnels and pvc pipes


Yesterday I dug through my husband’s stash of plumbing supplies, and collected some pieces of pvc pipe, and added them to the bin of water that the Hooligans were playing in, to see if  anyone was interested in them.


toddlers playing with water and pvc pipes


Today, I decided to take it up a notch.


preschool water play and science activity - pvc pipes, funnels and watertoddler pouring water through funnel during a science activity

I set up this water bin activity specifically with these plumbing pieces in mind. I filled a clear storage bin with water and a few drops of red food colouring, as well as a couple more large bowls of coloured water.  I added clear cups for pouring, and a few funnels to make things a little more interesting.  I really didn’t know if it would hold their attention for long.  It certainly didn’t look terribly exciting, but I’m not kidding you, they played at this station for an hour and a half this morning.

preschooler pouring water through funnels during science activitiestoddlers playing with "waterworks" water science activity bin


This would be a terrific water table activity, but we don’t have a water table, so we make our own!  I set up a make-shift arrangement of storage containers set on top of stools, benches and over-turned containers.  Hey, it’s cheap, and it works!

They poured, they colour mixed, they put pieces of pipe together,


science activities: kids playing with water play activity bin


they co-operated, and collaborated, working together – one person carefully holding together the multi-pieced contraption that he’d made, and the other pouring the water into it.



They emptied the big bowls of water into the bin several times, and I kept filling them back up with coloured water.


science activities for preschoolers


By the end of our water play, everyone was soaked, and they’d re-arranged the tables and containers and turned the whole activity into a restaurant.


science activities for preschoolers


I love how these simple open-ended play activities get their imaginations working.


science activities for preschoolers


And I love that a simple, inexpensive water play activity can keep them learning, laughing, and experimenting for so long.

tubes and funnels water play as a science activity

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  1. says

    You are just fabulous! I love your blog. This looks like so much fun and I know my kids will love it. Definitely going to try it! I can totally see my kids doing this for quite a while too. They’re still dipping into that ocean bin, in fact. I haven’t put it away yet. :)

    • happyhooligans says

      Aw, thanks, Jessica. :) Isn’t it great that they’re still enjoying the ocean bin? We’re still pulling ours out several times a week along with the construction bin and the baby bath station. We’ve gotten so much mileage out of them!

    • happyhooligans says

      Thanks, Ali! Yes, I hadn’t though that they would explore them that way, but they had a great time fitting all the different pieces together!

  2. says

    I love this. We do lots of outside water play, but I think adding in some plumbing supplies would mix it up a little so I’ll have to have a trip to the hardware store soon. Your outdoor play ideas are a great inspiration for me as we try to get outside everyday and you always look like you have some much fun, thanks!

    • happyhooligans says

      Thank you, Hannah! I love knowing that our ideas are inspiring you to do some of the same at your house! Hope you enjoy your waterworks as much as we enjoyed ours!

    • happyhooligans says

      Hope your weather warms up soon, Alisa! I miss puddle jumping! Living on a hill means the rain runs down the street before it ever has the chance to form puddles. 😛

  3. kmac says

    Hi, Love how much you love play.Thank you for posting. What do you use to colour the water with.It doesn’t look like it stains. I am yet to find a colouring that doesn’t. Thanks

    • happyhooligans says

      Thanks for dropping a line. Sometimes I use regular liquid food colouring, but a lot of the time I use the Wilton icing gels. They come in little pots. Are you finding staining happens at full strength directly out of the container or when mixed with water? I’m not sure if you’re referring to staining on clothing or staining on hands. I believe all food colouring will stain if you get it directly on your clothing, full strength, straight from the container, but when it’s mixed in the water, we don’t experience staining on clothing, dish-cloths or hands. My fingers were stained blue yesterday because I wiped around the edges of the little pots WITH my fingers to clean them up a bit: full on food colouring on my hands, but they were completely clean by the end of the day. The handwashing throughout the day removed all traces of it.

  4. Linda Tandy says

    Yet another awesome idea.
    I’m going to have to STOP looking on your site because now I have sooo many ideas and not enough hours in the day to do everything I find!

  5. Ali Blyth elliot says

    I used to run a preschool and a water table was out everyday, it was always popular. I live the idea with all the pipes, I’ll do that with my young son, he will love it!!!! I used food colouring a lot too, a favourite was when we filled latex gloves with coloured water and froze them overnight before dropping then into the water tray!!!!

  6. marge says

    My 11 year old granddaughter loves your website. We found her in the kitchen blowing bubbles with paper towel tubes.

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