We’ve finally hit the point in summer where getting drenched is a daily goal. Water is such a fun substance for play- it changes what it touches, it moves like nothing else, it floats things, it feels good, it is surprising and refreshing. Playing in the water is a quintessential childhood activity, and kids are drawn to it for all of its fun properties.
Today when I observed some water play action at the Co-op, I enjoyed noticing the many different forms that water play was taking. Some kids were enthralled with the spraying hose, moving in and out of its reach with screams of glee! Others planted themselves directly in smaller pools, and floated things together and talked. Our water table features funnels and sieves for experimenting with how water moves.
For some children, water play was a very socially active, athletic activity. For others, a slower, more experimental activity, focused on how objects move or are moved by water. The flexibility of water makes it so great for play, because it can spur so many different types of play. Providing materials to help contain the water and manipulate it helps children to get the most out of their water play.
Thankfully, the water that we need is available to be used for this purpose, though vessels used for water play should always be emptied into thirsty plant pots when the kids are finished! Another lesson in the value of water.
Here are a few other articles that have great ideas and some good information on the developmental benefits of water play: