Children love to explore and play with water, but it can be daunting for you providing this within the home. All you need to do is plan and prepare to ensure this activity is carried out in an appropriate place and in a safe way. And as with all of our activity suggestions... make sure it's FUN! This is also a great way of keeping those little hands washed and clean! I’m sure you all already have a washing hands song you are all singing along to....
There are no limits to water play! It can be done with containers, in the sink, in the bath, in the garden…. it can be with small amounts of water or in larger containers.
Important: Children should be supervised AT ALL TIMES when playing with water and never left alone with it.
Please be aware children will spill and make a mess with water. They are still developing their hand eye co-ordination and learning what water does… so provide somewhere they can experiment and explore that you are happy with and will not add stress to the day. Ideally, water play is better in the garden unless you have an area where you can easily mop up any spills. Even a small amount of water in a child’s tea set will provide great fun and opportunities for learning so don’t feel like you have to provide this on a huge scale. If it’s a rainy day, why not go out in the garden together and dance in the rain! Or splash in puddles on a walk in your wellies...
Water play is great for sensory development - feeling and splashing in the water can be great fun and the best time for water play with babies is bath time! This is an ideal opportunity to experience water, to splash and move body parts in the water to enjoy how it feels and sounds. You may have a routine which incorporates bath time however, it is fine to have bath time at any time of the day to have a splash and play.
Again, bath time is a great water play opportunity, but you could incorporate water into other play opportunities for example:
· A container and a brush outdoors, they can paint the floor, the fence, the wall, the shed
· A watering can in the garden, watering plants or just pouring on the patio and looking at the patterns
· Water with the play tea set or the pots and pans
· Water and chalk boards- using fingers or brushes to make marks
· Washing dolls/babies, you could have a bowl and water and children could wash the dolls/babies
· Washing toys either in a bowl inside or a bucket and sponge in the garden, washing their bike or garden toys is also a good idea
· Bubbles – a bowl of soapy water and using hands to blow bubbles
· Spray bottles or squeezy bottles with water
All the opportunities mentioned for babies and toddlers are still appropriate for this age group. They will develop their skills, painting with more precision, spilling less, creating pictures on the patio. You can make activities more challenging and this is a great way to increase children’s knowledge and understanding of their world and a fun way of learning about maths.
· How many buckets of water does it take to fill the big bucket?
· Why does the water dry on the patio?
· How can you make a bigger bubble?
· Introduction of a hose pipe to fill the watering can
· Helping to wash the pots
· Helping to bath the baby
· Floating and sinking…. what objects float? Making predictions about what
Water play encourages the development of hand/eye coordination through pouring, squeezing, stirring, painting, scrubbing, and squirting. Remember - getting wet won’t hurt them, its part of the fun!….Once they are finished they can get dry, change their clothes and plan their next water fun session.
I’m sure you will come up with 101 ways to enjoy water play with your children... please remember to share photos of what you get up to with us!