The Benefits of Water Play

There is so much more to learning than reading and writing. In fact, children often learn more from informal activities because they find the activities fun, thus wanting to continue with the activity. In early childhood education settings there are many opportunities for children to learn through fun and play. One such activity is water play. This can come in many forms and has several benefits to children.

Mathematical and scientific concepts

Many mathematical and scientific concepts are difficult to explain to younger children verbally. They are much more likely to understand if they are presented with new ideas physically or visually. Concepts such as volume, more, less, hotter, colder, temperature, measurements, solids, liquids and gases are all ideas that can be presented through water play. One excellent activity is to get children to measure out a specific quantity of water and then pour it into a small bucket. Ask the to measure the same amount of water out again and then to pour it into a tube. Repeat the exercise putting the water into a bowl. Each vessel will hold the same amount of water but will look different. This will give you the opportunity to present a number of the aforementioned concepts to the children.

Cognitive development

Cognitive skills are an important part of a child’s development. Cognitive skills include reasoning, logic, attention, memory and processing information. Activities such as those suggested in the previous section are ideal for supporting the development of these skills.

Language development

The stage at which a child attends early childhood education is an important stage in their language development. Water play can provide many chances for children to expand their vocabulary by explaining what they are doing, describing quantities or simply conversing with other children. It is also an opportunity for them to ask questions and to verbally explain tasks to other children.

Social awareness

As with many types of play, water play can be done individually or as part of a group with other children. When working in groups children have to learn to take tuns, both in conversation and in participating in tasks, they must listen to instructions, talk to others and have empathy for the feelings of others.


One of the most obvious benefits of children playing with water in early childhood education is that it is fun. Children love to make a mess and to take part in physical activities. If children enjoy their time during their early education it is more likely that they will be enthusiastic about their education when they advance onto the next stage.

Water play is an excellent choice of activity for children in early childhood education settings. Aside from the obvious benefit of this being as fun activity, there are also many benefits to the child’s education and development. These include cognitive and language skills, understanding mathematical and scientific concepts and a greater social awareness. Water play can be both an informal activity and one which is planned specifically to support different areas of development.