Early childhood

Smart water play

We know kids love to play with water so we have got a few ideas to keep the fun happening but lowering the amount of water you use. Try them out and let us know what you think! Download here

Photo © Happy Hooligans

Tips for centres

Are you an Early Childhood educator and looking for ideas or ways to be smart with water?

Water Smart Early Childhood Centre Guide PDF

This helpful guide includes:

  • simple water saving practices you can adopt within your centre
  • water facts, like how much water does a running hose actually use?
  • where water comes from and the water cycle
  • the te Ao Māori view
  • the water treatment process
  • water play learning ideas
  • links to Te Whaariki
  • the Newcastle Kindergarten case study
  • lyrics to the Smart Water song.

Smart water song

The Smart Water Song encourages preschool children to save water and turn off leaky taps. It is written and performed by well-known NZ children’s entertainer, Chris Lam Sam from THE FUNKY MONKEYS.

Case study


Newcastle Kindergarten are doing some great work around water conservation both in how they teach their children the value of water and the things they have put in place to help conserve water and not waste it. 

Children’s drinking water

Children have access to a fountain tap – they are allowed to help themselves, but they are only allowed to fill their cups half way and not full. Children tip leftover water into a water jug. This water is then used to water the plants.

Children’s individual access to water for outdoor play

Most of the children’s outdoor water use is supplied by three rain tanks. Children can fill up containers and take water when the tap is unlocked. The children know that when the water is gone it's gone and they have to wait for rain before they can start to use it again.

Water play

A water trough is filled for water play. The centre has a policy of not using running mains water for play.

Cleaning concrete areas

Concrete and paved areas are swept and a blower used to clear leaves.

Rainwater tanks

Three rainwater tanks capture water from the roof which flows into a gutter and down a pipe into a tank. The corrugated iron tanks were specially commissioned to be in keeping with the centre’s ‘natural’ theme, however rain barrels/tanks can come in all shapes and sizes. If you can source a food-grade barrel these are often cheap or even free to pick up.

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