Learning & Development, Sensory Play

The Benefits Of Water Play For Children

Little baby playing with water in a plastic blue bucket outdoors

With the hot weather knocking on our doors, it’s the perfect time to get outside and explore, and there’s nothing more fun and exciting for kids than spending time splashing and playing in the water on hot days!

Water play not only keeps the little ones feeling cool and entertaining, but it also has so many surprising benefits in their development, making it one of the most popular activities during their educational stage. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of water play in early childhood and why you should introduce it into your children’s play and learning time. 

What Is Water Play?

Water play is play that involves many activities that incorporate water and the use of utensils and tools such as buckets, toys, and containers, which allow children to get hands-on with their senses, splashing, pouring, scooping, you name it! 

Water play offers children the perfect opportunity to get to grips with natural resources and build their understanding of being able to manipulate and influence the elements they have at their disposal. It’s also a fantastic therapeutic activity if a child is prone to getting hot, bothered, stressed, or anxious, as outdoor learning and natural play improve wellbeing. It can take many forms, whether it involves a bath, a pool, an interactive water wall, or simply a few buckets to splash in.

What Are The Benefits Of Water Play In Early Years?

There are numerous benefits for children when they engage in water play activities, including:

Release Of Energy

Playing with water is an excellent way for kids to release any pent-up energy or stress they may have been carrying throughout their day. Vigorous splashing, running through or kicking in water releases endorphins and energy that will not only have them feeling better and much more positive but also help to physically tire them out.

Emotionally Therapeutic

Depending upon the activity or the session’s aim, water play can also offer emotionally therapeutic benefits through the repetition of gentle movements, allowing them to relax, unwind, and gain clarity and a sense of organization in their thoughts. Much like an adult taking a bath or a shower, water play can be a very peaceful and relaxing activity that children can become absorbed in for hours.

The Development Of Hand-Eye Co-ordination

Activities like pouring water into a container, or asserting the power and direction behind a splash help to improve a child’s sense of accuracy and control, thus ultimately improving their hand-eye coordination.

Concentration And Focus

Water play can be an exciting and immersive experience, especially when children spend a long period of time exploring their senses. Activities like this can encourage a child to become completely focused, thus increasing their overall attention span and ability to concentrate on any task at hand.

This will help to shape their academic abilities and contribute to the strengthening of their concentration skills in later life.
Playing with water is also an open-ended activity that allows kids to explore their imagination, make meaningful discoveries and connections, and develop important skills such as problem-solving as they start to establish their understanding of why and how things happen. And they can do so in many ways, the reason why we wrote a whole other article on our Top Imaginative Play Products For Children that you can explore.

Development Of Motor Skills

Water play helps develop children’s motor skills through activities like scooping, squeezing, and pouring water. Additionally, gross motor skills are also developed through activities such as splashing, kicking, wading their limbs through the water, carrying full buckets, and running. 

If you want to add another exciting element to water play, incorporating materials like sand, soap, or ice will allow children to further explore their senses through the feeling of different textures and temperatures. Water play experiences can also help develop a child’s balance and strength due to its natural resistance. One of our favorite water play products is The River Channel. as it allows you to do all of the above and more!

water wall sensory playground equipment

Enhanced Social Skills

Water play is a great way for children to find their feet and evolve their playing habits, from playing alongside someone else to actually playing with friends. Another one of the amazing water play benefits is that when it changes from a solitary activity into a group activity, it is the perfect opportunity for children to develop their social skills and share creative and interesting ideas. 

Kids will learn how to take turns, share their space and tools, and be patient whilst their peers are playing. Being immersed in playing with water in a group is also a more exciting experience that can encourage the development of teamwork and cooperation when there is a common goal, such as filling with water a large bucket or container. It can also help to encourage friendly competition amongst themselves, such as seeing who can make the biggest splash. All these skills (and more) are vital in building great friendships and meaningful relationships, which will benefit them in later life as well.

Improved Communication And Language

Due to the nature of play, kids often narrate their actions as a way of practicing stringing sentences together and making sense of their thoughts and actions, even if they are playing alone. When playing with others, children will naturally take turns whilst speaking and listening with their peers, which will ultimately help them develop their vocabulary and communication skills.

Every new environment provides new experiences and new ways of playing, especially when complete with exciting scenarios and toys. This will naturally provide many more opportunities for self-expression and communication, helping to develop an extensive vocabulary and the sharing of thoughts between children.

How Can Red Monkey Play Help You?

If you are looking to incorporate Water Play Equipment into your school’s learning and playing curriculum, then our dedicated and experienced team at Red Monkey Play will be more than happy to help you! Please don’t hesitate to contact us, and you can either email us at hello@redmonkeyplay.co.uk or call our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922 to book a FREE consultation! 

Now that you learned the benefits of water play, why not keep on reading our comprehensive Buyer’s Guide To Sensory Play Equipment that will help you start on the right foot when thinking about How To Improve Child Development With Sensory Playground Equipment at your school or nursery.

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