Refreshing water play

This citrusy, herbal water bath is a great sensory activity for hot days and can be played with both indoors and outside, or alter it for cooler days by skipping the ice-cubes. It’s quick to set up, and safe if ingested.

This guide is part of our Sense Arts, Sport & Wellbeing programme. This activity can be done at a time that suits you, either in your own space or in an educational setting.

Who is this for?

This is a wellbeing activity for people who are deafblind or have complex disabilities and can be enjoyed by anyone.

Why does this make a difference?

This is a sensory activity that promotes wellbeing and relaxation, helping people use their senses to connect with their surroundings by exploring touch and smell.

How to do this activity

A close-up of fresh sage, being held by two hands

What you’ll need

  • Deep baking tray or a large bowl
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemons
  • A cucumber
  • Fresh herbs, like thyme or mint
  • Toys to play with the water, like a lemon squeezer, wooden spoon, cups
  • A towel (for indoors)

Step 1

A hand slicing up a cucumber on a chopping board with slices of lemons, and limes

Slice the cucumber up, and cut the lemons in a variety of different ways - slices, wedges and halves.

Step 2

Adding sliced citrus fruit and fresh herbs to a white tray of water

Fill your baking tray or bowl with water, and add cucumber, lemons, and herbs and ice cubes. You can also add tools to explore, like lemon squeezer, spoons, cups etc.

Step 3

A white tray filled with sliced lemons, limes, cucumbers, ice, and a large balloon whislk

Explore the sensations and smells of the different things in the water and have fun!

Top tips

  • Freeze herbs or fruit into the ice cubes ahead of time for an extra dimension to ice play
  • Why not make a themed sensory water play session around the season or specific colours?