How Water Play Benefits Early Childhood Development: 5 Essential Skills

Little ones love to splash! Playing in water is a great way to cool off during the hottest months of the year, but that’s not the only benefit that comes with water play. Read on to learn more about how water play helps kids develop greater creativity and so much more during their formative years. 

Playing in water is a great way to develop motor skills

There are all sorts of toys for developing motor skills such as eye-hand coordination, but when it comes to sensory experiences that enhance fine motor skills including pincer grips that help with controlling writing instruments once they enter school, nothing comes close to water tables for kids. Kids happily pour, scrub, squirt, and stir while learning how to enjoy greater control over large and small muscle groups alike. 

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Playing together aids in language development

Solo play is fun, but when kids get together around a water feature, they take their conversations to the next level. Whether your child has peers to play with, older siblings, or spends time mostly with you, talking about water while enjoying fun water-based activities is a great way to socialize while learning how to use some new, exciting words. 

According to the pet experts at Totally Goldens, getting pets involved in the water play also has benefits to young minds:

“It’s definitely worth getting your dog involved in your child’s water play. Animals can help socialize children and improve their verbal skills – particularly only children –  who will talk to their pets like they would a human. If you don’t have a water table or water play equipment, try encouraging your child to undertake simple tasks such as filling the pet’s water and food bowls. This will teach responsibility and care, as well as basic mathematical skills.”

Water play helps aids develop important problem-solving skills 

Just like sand, playdough, and other fun substances, water comes with a whole set of problems and solutions. How to contain it? How to encourage objects to float or sink? How to move it from one place to another? For adults, these issues are no-brainers. For wee ones, they’re intriguing problems with solutions that call for innovation and imagination. The creative nature of water play helps children learn that experimentation and outside the box thinking are crucial aspects of problem-solving – and eventually, these skills can be applied to different areas of life. 

Kids are introduced to science and math through water play 

How much water will a certain container hold? Which one is bigger? How does water respond when it’s poured onto different surfaces that might absorb it or diffuse it in some way? Problems like these stimulate the analytical side of your child’s brain, encouraging them to think critically about the world around them. Toys, water tables, and natural objects such as rocks, sticks, plants, and soil are kid-friendly elements that make for a fun introduction to various concepts that lead to greater curiosity and encourage a lifelong love of learning. 

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Water Play Encourages the Development of Emotional and Social Skills 

Kids who play in the water alongside parents, siblings, and friends get the unique opportunity to relax and concentrate on fun activities. Anytime you can treat your child to some water-based fun, consider incorporating concepts such as sharing and cooperation. Can they pass a certain scoop or bucket back and forth, taking turns pouring? Can one child hold a sieve while another pours water through? Can they fill a larger container together and see how much faster the task is completed when lots of hands contribute? These are just a few fun ways to bring social skills together with important lessons on sharing, collaboration, and more. 

Water may be simple, but it can play an essential role in helping your child prepare for larger life lessons that lie ahead. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy this exciting time together! Whether you’re at home, in nature, or visiting a water park, your child will experience new things, solve problems, and enjoy an exciting, interactive experience. 

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