Posted on

Support Childhood Development With Water Play

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.

You may have seen recently that we’ve launched a brand new play session at Imagiplayy! Based on water, Little Splashers is a new fun-filled weekly play session that runs every Tuesday 2-3 pm.

It isn’t all just about fun though, in everything we do there are underlying educational or developmental benefits and water play has so much to offer, so let’s explore what some of those benefits are.

What is Water Play?

Firstly water play is just that, the opportunity to play and explore with water. 

A great water play activity involves the use of water as well as the opportunity to use tools such as buckets, cups, containers, toys etc that allow children to splash, scoop, pour, submerge and explore their senses.

Being a natural resource, water allows children to engage with the natural world and use natural resources in their play, this gives children a sense of the world and their place within it, as well as an understanding of what they can do to influence things. In addition to being both educational and fun, water play assists your child in developing their social and emotional skills, as well as their physical abilities and early literacy and numeracy skills.

Within our play area, we use various sized tuff trays that can be sat in, or next to. If you are wanting to do a water play activity at home then a washing-up bowl, bucket or plastic storage box is ideal. Either way, several children can engage in the activity at once which makes for an exciting and social experience for children as they splash, play and have fun together.

The Benefits of Water Play

  1.  Hand-eye Coordination

Playing with water helps children improve their hand-eye coordination because they pour, squeeze, stir, and paint with water. For example, children gain control and accuracy by pouring water from one bucket to another or learning how to control a splash’s size and direction.

  1. Scientific Concepts

Using water to demonstrate mathematical and scientific concepts is a great way to explain the concept of volume and weight. What is the amount of water you think can fit in this bucket? Could we measure it? What would happen if we dropped this heavy object in the bucket?

By manipulating water play materials, children learn why and how things work, and develop their scientific enquiry and problem-solving skills. As an example, if one object sinks in the water while another floats, the child might add more objects to the water to see what happens. After investigating which objects sink and float, children will discover that heavier objects sink, while lighter objects float, regardless of the size.

  1. Literacy and Numeracy

Through the method of counting how many buckets of water, it takes to fill a tub or using water and a brush to write and draw, water play can also be used to develop children’s literacy and numeracy.

  1. Concentration and Focus

During water play, children lose themselves in the activity and can spend hours experimenting and playing. By engaging children in activities that hold their attention for a long period of time, children increase their ability to concentrate later in life and increase their attention span.

  1. Motor Skills

Children’s gross and fine motor skills are developed and strengthened by water play activities. Squeezing enhances a child’s hand muscles by developing their fine motor skills and coordination. Lifting, pouring, carrying, running, and splashing all enhance the development of gross motor skills, coordination, and physical fitness in children.

  1. Sensory Exploration

As well as providing children with many opportunities to explore their senses, water play also allows them to experience a variety of sensory experiences. The addition of materials such as sand, ice, soap or slime to water allows children to experience different textures (gritty, squishy, slippery and slimy) and temperatures (warm, cool, cold).

  1. Social and Communication Skills

Children find water play particularly exciting when they play together, even though it can be a solitary activity. Playing in water as a group encourages children to have a social and cooperative experience. Water play among pre-school children, for instance, often becomes a shared activity with a common purpose. For example, playful activities include filling a large tub with water using buckets, making a mountain of bubbles, or taking turns splashing in the water to see who can make the biggest splash. Children participate in this kind of play in a variety of ways and contribute to each other’s success.