Water and children, always a great combination! But is it just fun or is there more to splashing about in the fun stuff?

From bath time to playing in the garden, paddling in a stream to swimming in it, children tend to be fascinated by water and they love to play in it.

Water is a teacher

Water can be an amazing teacher, without your child even realising it, they could be carrying out a science experiment, working on number, developing an understanding of capacity, sorting, sharing out, developing language, gross and fine motor control skills, developing their senses and that is even before they have started to swim in it!  So what sort of games can I play with a bit of water and my little one?

Boys playing in water


What to do with your newborn?

A newborn: Using warm water and a sponge, trickle water on different parts of their body, look for their reaction. If it is as hot as it is today, what about putting their feet into a coolish bowl of water and letting them splash about.  Remember to talk to them about what it feels like, watch for their reactions, this is serve and return, a brilliant way to start getting them learning.

When your baby is able to sit, why not put them in a small amount of water and show them how to pat the water to make it splash up. This is cause and effect, the beginning of realising they can make things happen for themselves. 

Things to do with your one year old

With your one-year-old, what about giving them some water in a bowl and some yogurt pots or other pots.  Get them to scoop water into the pots and then to pour water from one to the other. This enables them to look at cause and effect, capacity, how much water can go in that pot as opposed to that pot. 

What games to play with your toddler

As your toddler gets older, what about giving them their own baby to bath, or let them do their baby's washing or giving them someone bucket that has some water in and another that is empty and encourage them to experiment with different kitchen equipment to move the water from one bucket to the other. Here they will be looking at the properties of different kitchen equipment, and finding out if, for example, a sive is really the best method of moving water from one place to another! 

Playing with a bucket of water

Another nice activity is ‘cooking’ with water, using the pots and pans and spoons and measuring jug from the kitchen, ask them to make you a cake, or a bit of supper or such like.  Pretend to enjoy eating it when they are finished. This role play builds their imagination and develops their language skills. 

All this play is just that for your child, play... but they will be learning from these activities, building their brains, developing their language skills, learning about their place in the world, cause and effect, the properties of materials, floating and sinking to name just a few.  On a day like today, they will also be keeping cool and having fun.  What more can you want in an activity! Why not take off your shoes and join in... you might find that you have fun as well! Happy splashing! 

Baby feet in the water