Oftentimes when the outside temperature rises, many children (and parents) everywhere would prefer to stay in air-conditioned rooms and away from the sun’s blazing heat. There is no wrong or right here, but have you ever considered the benefits of letting your kids stay active and playful in the hot weather?
You might be scratching your head; what beneficial activity could keep them out and engaged? The answer is obvious: water play!
There is no better feeling than splashing about in and with water on a hot sunny day! Water play is a perfect way for kids to have fun, learn, and relax. Aside from the wet mess, giggles, and slippery fun, you’ll be surprised to discover the excellent benefits for child development from water play.
What counts as water play?
As the name suggests, water play involves water and its accompanying tools, such as buckets, containers, and toys, which allow children to splash, scoop, pour, submerge, and explore with their senses. Water play in Early Childhood Education (ECE) settings usually involve a water table or a large tub to contain the water and any additional toys or material that go hand in hand with the activity. This setting creates a space for an exciting social experience for children as they splash around, play, and have fun together.
At SPH Pluit Village, our Early Years Program acknowledges the importance of a conducive learning environment as much as a qualified teacher. When children engage with their environment and use natural resources in their play, they are building their sense of understanding of the world around them and their place in it while also building their understanding of their abilities to affect and influence things.
Water play is both fun and educational and has a range of benefits for your child’s social and emotional development, as well as developing their physical abilities and early literacy and numeracy skills. As a bonus, children rarely get bored of it!
Here are the top 4 benefits of water play that you’ll surely not want to miss:
Motor skills development and sensory exploration
The acts of pouring, squirting, squeezing, filling, dunking, emptying buckets, and holding shovels at a certain angle to retain water are all little yet significant repetitive movements that allow young learners to build control of their muscles. Any additional materials such as sand, ice, or soap to water allow a deeper exploration of textures and temperatures, where it could get slippery or gritty, warm or cold. The options are endless when it comes to water play, and the sensory exposures allow children to be familiar with various sensations while making sense of them.
Enhances coordination and concentration
It requires hand-eye coordination and concentration to transfer water from a toy into a bottle or squirt water out of a water gun. Water play is a great medium for little ones to practice their coordination, concentration, and perseverance! Some kids may experience frustration not being able to pour properly or get water out of their toy systems. Yet, multiple attempts and exposures to water play help children learn how to try again, persevere, and not easily give up. It’s a win-win situation; the more practice they do, the better they get while encouraging positive character development.
Math, science, and language all in one
When we make learning fun, subjects such as math and science can be easily incorporated and absorbed by little ones. Every time they pour and fill up their bucket or toy, they are making a scientific enquiry and developing their problem-solving skills as they understand how and why things happen. Water play also enhances language development as these young learners learn to describe what is happening in their play. Especially when accompanied and supervised by engaged adults, children learn vocabulary such as full, empty, overflow, hot, cold, fill, pour, transparent, mix, and they add up! As a bonus, water play is a lasting activity, as children continue to investigate all things surrounding volume and weight through sinking or floating objects. It truly is the most accommodating, affordable, and effortless activity for children!
Easily done from home
Finding the next best thing to constantly keep our children engaged, occupied, and entertained without the guilt of endless screen time or the concern about cost is every parent’s serious undertaking. With water play, you can easily set it up in your yard or any open space at home. The most important thing is there are no rules when it comes to water play and how you choose to introduce or offer it to your kids. If you can get your hands on a water play table, that is great! But if not, you can use buckets, cups, sponges, spades, floating toys, springers, eyedroppers, funnels, water wheels, tubing, and so many more!
Keep things interesting by trying out different containers and providing your child with various tools and toys to stimulate their imagination. Water play is doable every season, as you could take it indoors or let them play during bath time. We encourage regular water play at least once a week and witness how amazing such simple learning methods can impact your child’s development!