Most kids love water. Swimming in it, splashing it, stomping in it, playing with it. Being that it is summer here in Perth, we have outdoor water play pretty much everyday. A few inches of water in a tub or her small paddle pool, some plastic containers and a wooden spoon and my little water nymph is as happy as a lark for ages.
Playing with water can be a wonderful tool for laying the ground work for future mathematical and scientific learning, providing children with hands-on experience for;
- Learning about measurement: which container holds the most/least? which container holds more/less?
- Experimenting with scientific concepts: which will float/sink and why?
- Learning new vocabulary: empty and full, shallow and deep, wet and dry
- Learning how to sort or categorise: these objects all float, these ones sink.
Here are 10 simple ways to take your child’s play beyond the obvious to enhance the learning potential of water and extend the fun;
1. Add a big car cleaning sponge for squeezing water into containers as an alternative to pouring.
2. Add dolls or cars, or a tea set and a cloth for washing toys.
3. Add a little dishwashing detergent to create bubbles in the water.
5. Take your child’s cooking play outside – pots and pans, cups and saucers, spoons for stirring.
6. Try water play with natural materials – small stones, seed pods, leaves, small sticks and bark.
7. Choose a range of objects which will float and some which will sink. Notice these properties with your child as she plays with the objects in the water.
8. Recycle butter or margarine containers and add your child’s plastic people or animals for a day of boating on the water.
9. Give your child a bucket of water and a chunky paintbrush for water painting. You will be amazed how much fun toddlers have with this one.
10. Add sand for some seriously fun mud play. Make mudpies and mud cakes or sand castles.