Water Play For Fun And Learning
The weather is warming up - and it’s time for some fun in the sun! Kids of all ages love water play, and the possibilities are endless. Water play is beneficial for so much more than passing the time on hot summer days - it can also boost your child’s physical and cognitive development.
So, why do babies and toddlers love water? Perhaps it has something to do with the comfort of familiarity, similar to the feeling of being surrounded by amniotic fluid for nine months! It can also have a lot to do with the sensory aspect of water: how it feels running through a child’s fingers, how it can be many different temperatures, how it can exist as both a solid and a liquid, how it sounds different based on the speed of its motion - the experiences are endless!
Something as simple as running through the sprinklers or taking a warm bath after a cold rainy day can be amazing sensory fun for babies and toddlers, but water can also be a useful learning tool for children. Researchers have found that water play helps form the foundations for skills in:
- Scientific experimentation
- Motor skills
- Social skills
As your baby grows and develops, she will soon learn that water is fundamental to all aspects of life. We use water to cook and to drink, we use water to clean our homes and our bodies, we use water for art and decoration, we use water for taking care of plants and animals. The more you can discuss the wonderful ways we use water, the more interest your child will show in experimenting with water!
Because children learn primarily through play, it is important to focus on fun and creativity instead of memorization and education when it comes to water play.
Here are some easy ideas to incorporate more water play into your routine at home:1. Science Experiment: Will It Sink, Or Will It Float?
This experiment is easy to do, even with young toddlers. In this game, your child will make guesses as to whether an object will sink to the bottom of a container, or float on the surface of the water. This experiment can be done indoors, in a sink or a bathtub, or outside in a large bucket or a water table. Help your child gather several items of varying shapes and sizes, and talk to him about what he thinks will happen when the object is dropped into the water (some good items for this experiment include bath toys, sticks, cotton balls, buttons, keys, rocks, or whatever else you can find). Scientific experimentation skills are practiced through exploring buoyancy, density, and forming hypotheses - but your little one won’t need to learn much more about these concepts until much later!2. Ice Painting
Pour water in an ice cube tray and add a drop of food coloring into each slot, mixing thoroughly. Place a popsicle stick into each cube slot, and freeze for at least 4-6 hours (or overnight). To paint, simply remove the ice cubes from the tray and let your little one hold the stick and paint away!3. Crack The Ice
Fill a container with water and add a few toys to the water. Freeze until the ice is solid, and then on a warm day, remove the ice block from the container and let your little ones “rescue” their toys from the ice!4. Mixing Colors
Mix several tablespoons of oil with some food coloring, and then pour over a cup of water. The oil and water won’t mix, but the food coloring will fall into the water below! Mix different colors together for a fun effect.5. Scoop And Pour
Water is useful for teaching little ones how to scoop, pour, sift, shake, and mix. Simply fill a water table or a sensory bin with water, and add objects that will allow your little one to practice these skills. Measuring cups, measuring spoons, funnels, small buckets, shovels, water bottles, and plastic storage containers are perfect for this activity!
6. Car Wash
Set up a “car wash” for your child’s toy cars and trucks! Mix some bubble bath or dish soap with some water, add a few sponges and washcloths, and let your little one enjoy washing her toy vehicles! You can set up a drying station nearby by laying out a towel and setting aside some dry washcloths.
7. Water Painting
This activity is fun and simple! All you need is a paintbrush and water. Let your child dip a paintbrush in the water, and let him “paint” the sidewalk! This activity makes for easy set up and clean up. Your child can also “paint” with spray bottles and sponges, too!
Try these activities at home for some warm-weather fun that is exciting and educational!
Parenting is awesome. Sleep is overrated. Every day is an adventure.
Meet Our KeaMommy Contributor: Kaitlyn Torrez
I’m Kaitlyn Torrez, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I live with my husband and two children, Roman and Logan. I’m a former preschool teacher, currently enjoying being a stay at home mom. I love all things writing, coffee, and chocolate. In my free time, I enjoy reading, blogging, and working out.