Most kids love water. Swimming, splashing, stomping, pouring, stirring. Water play is splishy, sploshy fun!
When it’s summer here in Perth, we have outdoor water play outside pretty much everyday. A few inches of water in a tub or a small paddle pool, some plastic containers and a wooden spoon and my little water nymphs are as happy as larks for ages.
Playing with water can be a wonderful tool for laying the foundations for future mathematical and scientific learning, providing children with hands-on experience with;
- Learning about measurement: Which container holds the most/least? Which container holds more/less?
- Experimenting with scientific concepts: Which object will float/sink and why?
- Learning new vocabulary: Empty and full, shallow and deep, wet and dry, etc
- Learning how to sort or categorise: These objects all float, these ones sink.
If your children love water play as much as mine do, here are 10 simple ways to extend the fun and learning potential next time they are ready to splish and splash!
RELATED: Getting Started with Water Play for Babies
10 Simple Ways to Extend Water Play
1. Add a big car cleaning sponge for squeezing water into containers as an alternative to pouring. Mesh bath sponges are fun too.
2. Add dolls, figurines or cars and a cloth for washing toys.
3. Add a little dishwashing detergent and some whisks and let your kids create bubbles in the water.
4. Add a bottle with holes punched into it plus a waterwheel and some lengths of clear plastic tubing from the hardware store.
5. Take your child’s cooking play outside – tea set, pots and pans, cups and saucers, spoons for stirring.
6. Try water play with natural materials – small river stones, seed pods, leaves, small sticks and bark.
7. Choose a range of objects that will float and some which will sink. Notice these properties out load as your child plays with the objects in the water.
8. Challenge your child to make a boat from recycled materials 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. Be brave and add sand for some seriously fun play with mud! Make mudpies and mud cakes or sand castles.
Inspire your children to spend even more time playing outdoors by creating an outdoor play space your kids will adore.