If there is one thing all parents can agree on, it’s that children love water, the love to drink it, pour it, lay in it and just about cover everything in it. Child development research shows that water play has essential benefits in child brain development.
Yes it can be messy, wet, and a pain to clean, but it is also a calming and enjoyable exercise for little people. Water play helps in the development of hand-eye coordination, learning to lift, pour. Whilst, they don’t really care about it right now, it sets the foundation for early mathematics and some science concepts, such as differentiating between heavy and light items, those that will sink and those that will float. Water play also allows toddlers to develop concentration and focus as well as some problem solving skills.
In the summer months and living in countries with warmer climates, this can be easily achieved by allowing little ones outside with a bucket, visiting paddle pools, water fountains, and so on. Water play during the winter months can be challenging until you step outside the box. Bring it indoors, make it simple, make it safe, make it fun.
Here is a simple and easy way too bring water play to your toddler during the winter, when you are sharing each others’ company indoors.
You will need the following:
1. Time, lots of it. This kind of play is a free range play that does not need to be rushed
2. 3-6 items (toddler hand size) that sink and float
3. A stool about 8-10 inches high. No higher or you might find them in the sink. Step stool will also cause them to climb in the sink, so only use them with constant supervision.
4. 2 medium towels
5. bath room sink
Monterssori set up
1. Take your toddler with you to collect all items needed. Make sure to let them carry some light things, and have a designated stop where they are to be place. Make sure to say the name of each item being used as well.
2. Work together to set up towels. Ask your toddler to help you place the towel on the floor by showing her which end to hold. Allow room for error.
3. Next have your toddler carry stool from designated spot and place on top of towel in front of sink. Work together to cover stool with second towel.
4. Next fill sink with warm water.
5. Ask toddler to carry water play items to sink and place next to stool. Once task is complete, allow toddler to place items into sink on his own.
6. Give some space and let them work and have fun. Best to leave them till no longer want to play.
7. Pack away using prep step but in reverse!
More detailed video coming soon…
Not into Montessori? Use these steps
Prep: place 1 towel on the floor where the activity will take place, in front of the sink. Next place stool on top, and cover the stool with second towel. Next clean sink and fill with warm water. Remember there might be some drinking of the water so make sure to keep everything clean. Next place water play items in sink and let your little one loose.
Alternative set up
Don’t have a sink, or your sink is too high? Don’t worry you can follow any of the above steps with the following changes
1. Use a large camping basin.
2. Place on coffee table. For set up see step 2&3 of the monterssori set up
3. continue all other steps
4. stay close and keep a watchful eye, with water below your toddler head, you want to make sure they do not try to put their face in it. Safety first
5. Have fun