Water play is a popular tactile activity that appeals to children of all ages, as it can be great fun and provides many educational benefits. Playing with water stimulates a child’s mind and their senses. It also encourages them to be confident in the water while they learn about different concepts. Water play can be enjoyed in the sink, bath or outdoors in a paddling pool. There are many different ways in which a child can play with water, and it can be incorporated into many games.
Here are some ideas of fun things to do with water:
Bath time fun
One of the best places to have fun with water is in the bath. All that is needed is a few toys or kitchen items to play with in the water. Add some soapy bubbles to make it even more fun. Cups can be used for scooping up water and pouring it, a large spoon can be used to collect bubbles, sponges are great for squeezing and water-pistols are great fun, or alternatively use an empty squeezable bottle. A colander or funnel will intrigue a little one as they try to scoop water up with it. Boats are great for floating on the water, but don’t worry if you don’t have one, a paper boat can be made, which are simple to make once you learn how.
Paddling pool fun
The above games can be played outdoors in a paddling pool on a nice day, just remember the sunscreen. All of the bath toys can be bought outside to be used in the paddling pool. Containers of varying sizes can be used to allow children to learn about volume. Water-pistols are more fun outdoors, as a child can have fun squirting and seeing how far they can shoot the water. Do remember that the ground outside may become slippery, so make sure care is taken to prevent accidents. The water from the paddling pool can be reused to water the flowers, using a small watering can. Don’t forget to empty the paddling pool at the end of play, for safety reasons.
Floating and sinking
Sinking and floating is a fun game, as a child can try to predict if an object will float or sink as the object is dropped into the water. Use various items for this game, from metal objects such as spoons and keys, heavy objects such as stones, plastic toys, sponges or wooden objects. Ask why they think they will float or sink. They will be fascinated as they watch the objects to see what happens. Try using different objects from around the home or outdoor materials such as stones, twigs and leaves. This is a game that will fascinate children of all ages.
Children love responsibilities and they love to have the opportunity to help out with tasks. Washing toys is a great fun activity that will keep a little one busy. Use a basin or bucket with some warm water and mild soapy bubbles, and allow them to wash their toys. Children especially enjoy washing their dolls and doll clothes or animal figures. Children are never too young to learn how to wash up, give them a plastic tea set and a sponge to give them the opportunity to wash up. This is an activity that is more suited for outdoors, as it might get a bit messy, and the toys can dry naturally.
Painting with water
Provide a bucket of water and some paint brushes of differing sizes, and let them paint the house, the outside of the house of course. Children love to paint walls and fences, and all the different surfaces outdoors. This is a fun and popular activity that can keep young children entertained for hours. They will be amazed as they watch the water dry out. This is a great way for them to be creative while being active.
Experimenting with water
Water is a great material that can be used in many different ways. Children can enjoy experiencing and experimenting with water. Other than adding soap to create bubbles, try adding some food coloring to the water to change the color. Add colors together to create new colors and to teach children how colors mix. Only a tiny amount of food coloring is needed to add color, take care as this may stain clothing. Water can be splashed, poured, drizzled, squirted and even frozen.
Safety around water is paramount with children. Never leave a child unattended around water, adult supervision is always required. Always check the temperature of the water, and it may need to be topped up with warm water during play sessions. Sunscreen should be liberally applied before outdoor play. Always drain the bath or paddling pool after each play session to prevent accidents. Water can be great fun and it provides a versatile activity.