The Benefits of Water Play

What is it about water that makes it so inviting for children? They’re driven to pour it, mix it and dump things into it. They like to carry it about in buckets and bins, use it to fill up bowls to the brim and send it coursing down ramps. We know kids can’t resist a puddle. Washing hands and toilet flushing are captivating. Do you know any child that can resist throwing a pebble or a stick into a pond? Water naturally inspires exploration. It screams out, “Play With Me!”

At Kodo we know how valuable water play can be for young children. But with that said, we also know that teachers are occasionally challenged by parents who don’t share the same view or are simply uninformed.
benefits of water play

Often, explaining to parents why their child got soaking wet for the third day in a row can be difficult. So tell them this. “Your child is a natural scientist when she plays with water. When she plays, she is thinking, questioning and discovering its properties. As he fills up containers, he’s exploring spatial relationships and measurement and number concepts, which are foundational to mathematical thinking. Play with water promotes cooperation. When he sends it down the ramps and gutters, he’s gaining an awareness of gravity, flow, speed and force. When he adjusts those gutters to change the flow he’s engaged in the scientific process and is also practicing engineering skills. When she digs a hole in the sand and fills it with water, she’s exploring absorption and evaporation and is able to make theories about where the water goes, why the sand changes color when its wet and how puddles are formed. Your child’s water play is actually inquiry based learning and the fact that she/he is wet is evidence of deep engagement.”

Summer’s practically here and your kids are undoubtedly going to get wet. No question. This is the time to get together with your colleagues and uncover the benefits of water play for yourselves. So we suggest an afternoon or two of play for all of you. Get out the turkey basters, egg-beaters, eyedroppers, funnels, measuring cups, hoses, buckets, boats, bowls, gutters and outdoor ramps. Play with bubbly water, icy cold water, slurry and mud. Pour it, drip it, drizzle it, sprinkle it and mix stuff with it. Find things to pour it through. Use it to send a ball or a boat down a slope. Discover the perfect recipe for mud pies. Paint with it. Examine how beads of water look in sunlight. Record your notes, questions, ideas, theories, vocabulary words, concepts and discoveries. This playful process will prepare you to engage the children, help you to anticipate their needs and give you many ways to thoughtfully and accurately respond their parents’ questions.

Enjoy getting wet!
From Diane and The Kodo Team

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