What is Water Play?

Water play is play that involves water as well as using tools such as buckets, containers, and toys etc. that allow children to splash, scoop, pour, submerge and explore their senses.
Water play in Early Years settings usually involves a water table/ tuff tray or large tub that children can stand around while engaging in their play. This makes for an exciting and social experience for children as they splash, play and have fun together.
Not only is water play a fun activity it also has many benefits for a child’s development.
Benefits of water play:
1.Water Play gives many opportunities to develop fine and gross motor skills across age ranges. Children will increase their fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination through actions like pouring, squirting, scrubbing, stirring and squeezing. For example, through pouring water from one bucket to another, or learning how to control the direction and size of a splash, children are improving their sense of accuracy and control

2.Water Play builds the foundation for understanding various scientific concepts. Did you know you can use water play to teach basic mathematics? It will introduce children to terms such as Full, Empty, Half, Less. The children will measure, compare volumes, and observe motion, maybe a plant and animal life if you are lucky… they will count the rocks in the basin and notice the flow change as they move them. At home, don’t hesitate to take buckets, cups, sifters, empty bottles … in a shaded area out in the garden or on the balcony and participate with your children to their pretend play, they are learning as well as enjoying your participation! Water play can also be used to develop children’s literacy and numeracy, such as counting how many buckets of water it takes to fill a tub, or using water and a brush to write and draw.

3.Water play enhances concentration and focus. Have you ever found your child completely immersed in an experience? When children are engaged in water play, they tend to lose themselves in the activity and can spend long periods of time exploring and playing. This can encourage children to focus, and any activity that holds a child’s attention for a long length of time will contribute to increasing their attention span and ability to concentrate later in life. This is a particular benefit for formal learning. As your child prepares to begin school, being able to concentrate in a classroom will become a vital skill.

4.Water Play develops social and language skills. Imagine the discussions you can have asking what they are doing. Imagine then, the number of new words they will learn while having fun with water and having conversations about it! Basin, Damp, Depth, Drain, Flow, Drenched, Drizzle, Sieve…

5. Water play participates to social-emotional growth. Water play releases energy, it can be both invigorating or relaxing and calming for young children. It increases their ability to concentrate on one activity when presented as a tranquil and repetitive activity (scooping, pouring and running their hands through the water). Gentle water play allows them to unwind, order their thoughts and relax. It also encourages role play and crucial social skills like cooperation and sharing. They learn to work with one or several children, to take turns and share the space and accessories with their friends.                   
Click here to view our full range of water play tables and accessories                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
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