Now that the warmer weather has finally arrived, it’s time to get the kids involved in some wonderful water play. Grab buckets, paint brushes, plastic bowls, cups and squirters and head outside for some splashy fun! Water play is a great activity to keep them cool in the sunny weather, it’s relatively mess free, (water dries after all) and it’s a good way to introduce some independent play too.
But there are many more benefits to water play…
Just the feeling of water is like a sensory experience for children, is can be cold or warm, are there bubbles to squeeze or ice cubes to try to hold? Water is the first thing that children will seek out, whether that’s a muddy puddle, objects left in the garden that have collected the rain or dripping taps. If you watch a child playing with water they are often lost in their own thoughts, its relaxing and their imaginations are in overdrive.
Water Play provides many opportunities for kids to develop their fine and gross motor skills, through actions like pouring, squirting, scrubbing, stirring and squeezing – which will also improve their hand and eye coordination.
So, with this in mind here's some wonderful water activities to try this summer:
Hit the target: Use water pistols or just empty washing up liquid bottles to create a shooting game. Draw a target with chalk on the floor or use a large piece of cardboard – drawing on numbers, shapes or colours, which the children have to try and hit. This activity will improve their hand and eye coordination while they’re having fun and you can also use it as an opportunity to learn colours, shapes or introduce some simple maths as you add up the scores.
Clean Graffiti: Let them get creative with water, making temporary master pieces using simple materials. Fill the humble spray bottle and small buckets with water, add some old paint brushes then let them have their own art attack outdoors. They can spray the floor, paint the walls, the windows and patio furniture! It won’t damage anything and will keep them entertained for ages! You will see your child start to become very creative, making patterns or pictures… explain to them, that if they leave their artwork for a while it will dry and disappear, Magic!
Ice Picture:Use an empty plastic tray, the type you get when you order take-away food, fill it half way with water and then task the children with finding things to fill it with, such as seeds, flowers, pebbles, leaves etc… Once you have some interesting items add them to the water. Finally cut some string and create a loop, put half in the water and the other half hanging out the top, put the top back on the tray and place in the freezer overnight. Once frozen, put under a warm tap to remove it from the container and ta da - a beautiful ice picture! Hang outside and watch it slowly melt, a great science activity.
Clean Up:Use this time to have a spring clean! Fill washing-up bowls with water and a mild liquid soap, add some old sponges and cloths and get cleaning! Plastic toys, bikes, doll clothes, a play house, pretend tea sets can all be scrubbed and then left to dry in the sun. Top Tip: use baby shampoo for bubbles so that if they do rub their eyes, it won’t hurt.
Please remember, enjoy water play but never leave any child unattended while they are playing with water.