Sand and Water Play
WATER, WATER AND MORE WATER
Most children love playing in water, whether it is the bath, the shower, a bucket of water in the garden, a paddling pool, an outdoor pool or the ocean, and it can be a great activity for the whole family to enjoy.
I'm not sure if children enjoy water play because of the potential for making a mess or the way water can be moved around so easily but either way almost all children enjoy it. But not only is water play good fun, did you know that playing in water can be educational too? Not all learning needs to take place in a formal learning environment or with academic materials. Water play not only encourages children to be active and move around (which keeps them physically healthy and is important for their mental wellbeing) but it also teaches them different things about their bodies.
They can also learn many scientific things as well. Things children can learn from water play: . capacity and structure: through pouring and measuring they learn about size and depth and how to move water around, this is so much easier with water from a bath or wading pool than using rice or other kitchen ingredients which have a habit of spreading everywhere. . scientific concepts like full, empty, heavy, light, shallow, deep, relativity can be learned through playing with a variety of different sized containers, funnels, sieves and plastic bottles for squirting. . gravity?
they can experience what it is like to be weightless and see how their body moves without the impediments of gravity to restrict them. . space ? they can see what will happen when they fill a bucket with water and then dig their hand in deep and water flows over the rim (this is known as the Archimedes principle ? the amount of water displaced is equivalent to the mass of the object that displaces it). . floatation ? they learn that a rubber duck will float but that a stone will not. . encourage hand eye coordination as a child reaches for a bobbing toy. . balance ? they learn to balance themselves in water. And while your child will not necessarily be able to articulate all that they learn through playing with water toys, you know that it is happening and encourages their development. So now that we?ve established that water play is good for your child, what water toys make the best educational toys? . small toys that float are fun to catch and move around . a bucket is a basic that will work for many ages ? great for pouring and for filling with toys and/or water . inflatable water toys are best for large pools or at the beach ? look out for those that encourage balance as they are especially good, though depending on the age of your child you will probably need to help them at first to get the hang of it . balls ? small balls for inside and larger ones for outside . as they become adept at swimming brightly coloured toys that sink to the bottom of the pool and need to be retrieved are good for their hand eye coordination and lung capacity. . water activity centers ? there are a few different ones available, look for those that have a range of activities and one that has a water wheel where the water funnels through and down over a moveable wheel. This is both fun and helps them see how water can be used to move things around. . small play fishing nets that they use to catch and retrieve objects are great for encouraging their hand eye coordination and concentration There are many water toys available. Look for those that are both fun and have some educational merit to maximise this inviting play opportunity.