Water pouring is absolutely my daughter's favorite past time right now (19 months). Like most families with young children, our life is very hectic in the late afternoon between homework and preparing dinner. Water pouring entertains the little one for at least 20 minutes. She does make a big mess but sometimes I do not have to change her clothes. But even if I do, my math calculates that 20 minutes of independent play time - 3 minutes to change her clothes = 17 minutes of independent play time! That is a winning combination for me when it comes to that time of day.
I do attempt to keep down on the mess. I put down those super absorbent counter drying mats and then a large tray. It does help that my kitchen floor always need a good washing so over spill only helps me out.
One time I decided wouldn't it be such fun to put some recycled bottle tops in the water to float. Then while she pours they will float around. The picture below indicates that it was a bad idea. She hit the lids spot on and water splashed everywhere. Now this was even more fun!