Pouring is a fundamental skill. Adults need to do it; children need to learn how to do it. It may look simple but I can't tell you how many times parents have come into my classroom and scoffed at a pouring work only to spill water when they attempt to do it. The practicality in pouring is enormous. The points of consciousness of pouring include coordinating movements, arm/hand/finger placement, the ability to control the flow, pouring from the spout and waiting for the last drop. Ideally, you would teach a child to pour with a dry substance first -- it's easier for them to clean up when it spills. Because it will spill. Because activities need to be sequential in order to promote success it's best to start by keeping these tips in mind: hand before fingers, large to small, dry materials to liquid, simple to complex, short activities to long and skills in isolation to skills in combination. Currently on my shelves I have six pouring activities.
When first introducing these materials, keep in mind, that handles are harder for children than a vessel that allows them to use a hand grasp. At this point in the school year, that's not a concern of mine. Also, regarding handles, keep them facing out -- not towards the left or the right. By doing this you're not forcing a child to use their right hand just because you faced the pitcher in that direction. They're able to make the choice on their own and based on what is comfortable for them. You'll want to start with clear pitchers. Children need to be able to see the liquid or they don't realize anything is there. Then move to one clear pitcher and one opaque one. Then to both opaque. Then pouring 1:2 (or from one vessel into two vessels). Children must learn when to stop and how to split liquid. Then move to exploring the idea of pouring with tools like funnels or basters. Everything should be on a tray -- so the spill is contained and each tray should have a sponge -- so children clean up the spills and neaten the tray when they're finished. Once children have mastered the ability to pour they'll be able to get themselves a drink, help with baking and cooking and gardening and science experiments. How hands on!