Pouring my first drink

These activities are for children aged 3-4 years.

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Safety first

What you'll need

  • A range of containers and pouring equipment; cups, beakers, jugs, bowls, bottles. An organised pouring space preferably with a non-slip surface, such as a large tray or washing up bowl
  • Cloth or towel to clean up any spillages
  • Ping-pong ball


  • Consider colour contrasts between objects as well as the impacts of lighting, for example, a plain red tray, clear jug and blue beaker. A coloured liquid (juice) may be easier for your child to use than water.
  • Introduce equipment gradually; allowing your child to explore items, their features and how this links to function.


  • You can guide your child by completing the activity yourself as they place their hands over yours to feel the different actions and movements.
  • Place your child’s index finger at the rim of the cup or glass to feel the liquid rising to the top (Note: This technique is used with cold liquids only).
  • Listen for the sound of liquid entering the container, as well as for sound changes as the liquid reaches the top rim of the cup or glass.
  • Place a ping-pong ball into the cup before adding the liquid. Your child can feel and watch for the ball as the cup fills.
  • To reduce spilling, place the lip of the container your child is pouring from against the rim of the container they are pouring into. Keep the glass on the level surface of the tray when pouring into it.
  • Pour slowly at first and gradually increase speed as your child’s skills improve with practice.
  • Practise pouring into different containers such as a drinking glass, beaker, cup, jug to jug or saucepan.

Please supervise your child at all times while completing any of these activities.

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