Have you ever noticed that children have a natural curiosity to gravitate towards water? Whether it’s a running tap, a puddle in the street, or a cup of water at mealtime, children have an irresistible urge to put their hands under (without rolling their sleeves up), jump into that tempting puddle (without any welly boots on) or tip that cup of water all over the table and begin to splash in it! It’s all so easy to immediately say “STOP” or don’t do that” however it is also easy to underestimate the huge number of benefits that water play brings.
At Tiny Steps children benefit from water play all year round. It is often easy for parents/carers to be happy with this during the summer months but ask the Nursery to prevent their child from playing in the water in the colder months for fear of getting a cough or cold. The NHS makes it very clear that coughs and colds or not caught in this way in this way stating that they are ‘caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat and sinuses.’ Find out more here.
By ensuring that children’s bags are packed with plenty of sets of spare clothes it’s quick and easy to change a child who may is wet and actually provides a learning opportunity in itself!
We passionately believe that children learn best when they are enjoying what they are doing and research shows that when children are fully immersed in an experience, a greater level of knowledge and understanding is acquired. Through water play, the children can practice and exercise lots of different skills that aid all areas of their development.
As children play, exploring the water and the different resources they will use this as an opportunity to stretch, bend, crouch, stand on tiptoes, hold things up, tip objects up, jump, stamp and make many other movements developing their gross (large) motor skills.
Alongside the bigger and more obvious movements a child makes, they will also use this as a chance to practice actions such as, twisting, turning, squeezing using one or both hands to develop hand-eye co-ordination and dexterity that all support further skills such as holding a pencil or turning a page in a book developing their fine (small) motor skills.
Water play also provides the perfect opportunity to socialize. As children progress from playing alongside each other to playing with each other, language skills emerge and are
developed through conversations and personal social and emotional skills by sharing and turn-taking all begin to be practiced and those life skills of sharing, negotiating and compromising all begin to arise.
Concentration and creativity can be seen as children focus on the task at hand, plan and evaluate how they might use the resources in a different way and as objects are added e.g. boats, cars, etc allow their imaginations to run wild.
So now we have shared all the ways that water play benefits children, why not check out the link below for some ideas on how to encourage water play at home. It doesn’t need to be complicated, in fact, the simpler the better! We would love to hear the ways that your child enjoys playing with water and what benefits you have noticed have come from this.