Every year we are excited to start water play! Children love playing in the water, especially while playing outside.
Water play offers children the opportunity to learn so many different skills while enjoying this fun activity. Children are drawn to playing with water and it is important to provide children with meaningful learning opportunities.
How can you encourage your child’s learning through water play?
Provide a variety of toys and materials and encourage children to play with them. Start simple with recycled materials (make sure they are safe and unbreakable first) such as empty containers, jugs, or cups. Other materials can include measuring cups, funnels, ladles, water droppers, colanders, and more.
While children are mixing, splashing, and pouring, ask scientific questions- “What do you think will happen if you pour that jug of water into that cup?” or make observations “That water splashed a lot when you dropped the cup into it.”
By asking questions and commenting on a child’s play, adults are facilitating learning.
What skills are children learning while playing with water?
Not only is water play fun and refreshing, it is also a great opportunity for learning! From Early Childhood News, Water Play: Wet and Wonderful (by Angie Dorrell, M.A.):
Splish, splash, bubble, bubble, pop! Water play, both indoor and outdoor, is a unique activity for children because it’s always available, open-ended, and provides opportunities for extended learning.
All They’re Doing Is Splashing, Right? Wrong! Water play fosters learning in all developmental areas. It provides opportunities for children to experiment with math and science concepts, strengthen their physical skills, advance their social and emotional skills, and enhance language development.
This article further details how children can learn through water play as they develop problem-solving skills, math, physical development, social and emotional development, language development, creative development, and more.
What is your family’s favorite water play activity?