Children learn in a number of different ways and one fun way in which they can learn about different concepts and gain new skills is through water play.
Children have a natural, inbuilt ability to learn and they commonly learn about different issues through watching, listening, asking questions, trying new things and then practising what they’ve learnt. One very cheap and easy way for you to teach your child early learning skills is through playing with water.
With any age child, safety is important when you’re dealing with water, so always supervise your child and ensure they are safe.
A simple game you can play with your child is to fill up water containers. It sounds basic, but there are important mathematical notions to be gained from learning when containers are empty or full, or heavy or light. All a child needs are an assorted collection of containers, a bowl of water in which to fill them up and a waterproof surface on which to play. Added extras such as funnels can help ensure water doesn’t get splashed too far.
The game of container filling can be carried out inside, but also outside on warm days. You can help children by asking them to guess how many cups it takes to fill a certain container with water or how heavy different types of containers will become. For younger children, just the act of filling containers with water helps vital eye and hand coordination, helping to fine tune their motor skills.
Filling Containers – With Added Extras
Most children will happily play at filling containers for hours, but you can add a few extras to it to spice it up, if need be. For example, you could drop small items, such as coins, into the bottom of some of the containers – especially tall containers – and give children the task of getting them out, without emptying the water. A small fishing net or pair of tongs could be used to try and fish out the objects, which will help coordination and motor skills.
It’s also possible to buy containers designed for water play that come complete with various tubes. The tubes can be fitted together in various ways, with water then poured down them.
Painting With Water
On warm and sunny days, it’s fun to have a go at ‘painting’ with water on the paths outside or even on your driveway. Children can write their names on the paths using a paintbrush dipped into a bucket of water. With the effect of the sun, their efforts will soon disappear, just like magic!
Being In Water
For the ultimate water play adventure, children enjoy playing in water. It’s important to supervise all young children playing in water, but one fun way of doing so is to have a small inflatable pool in the garden. They don’t take up too much space, but give your child a chance to get used to water and have a splash around.
Even on rainy days in the winter there are water play opportunities to be had. Children love splashing through puddles on outdoor walks and seeing how objects float in puddles or streams. The age old favourite of ‘Pooh Sticks’ can be played by throwing sticks into a stream and seeing how far they float, or which sticks float and which sink without trace.