What Is Water Play?
Water play is play that involves a number of activities incorporating water and the use of utensils and tools such as buckets, toys and containers, allowing children to get hands-on with their senses. Splashing, pouring, scooping, you name it!
Water play presents children with 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 and bothered, stressed or anxious.
Water play can take many forms, whether it involves a bath, a pool, a water table or wall or simply grabbing a few buckets to splash in.
What Are The Benefits Of Water Play?
There are numerous benefits for children when they engage in water play activities including:
The Release Of Energy
Water play is an excellent way for children to release any pent-up energy or stress they may be carrying. 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.
Depending upon the activity or the aim of the session, water play can also offer emotionally therapeutic qualities through the repetition of gentle movements, allowing them to relax, unwind and gain clarity and a sense of organisation to 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.
Development of Hand-Eye Co-ordination
Activities such as 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, 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, increasing their overall attention span and ability to concentrate on the task at hand. This will help to shape their academic ability and contribute to the strengthening of their concentration skills in later life.
Water play is also an open-ended activity that allows children to explore their imagination, make meaningful discoveries and connections and can help to develop skills such as problem-solving as they start to establish their understanding of why and how things happen.
Development Of Motor Skills
Water play helps with the development of children’s motor skills. Activities such as scooping, squeezing and pouring water will help to engage and develop fine motor skills. Gross motor skills are developed through activities such as splashing, kicking, wading their limbs through the water, carrying buckets full and running.
To add another element to water play, incorporating materials such as sand, soap or ice allows children to further explore their senses through the feeling of different textures and temperatures. Water play experiences can also help with the development of a child’s balance and strength due to its natural resistance.
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 someone else. When water play changes from a solitary activity into a group activity, this presents the perfect opportunity for children to develop their social skills and share ideas.
Children will learn how to take turns, share their space and tools and be patient whilst their peers are playing. Playing in a group can also be a more exciting experience and can encourage the development of teamwork and cooperation if there is a common goal, such as filling a large bucket or container full of water. It can also help to encourage friendly competition amongst themselves, such as seeing who can make the biggest splash. These skills are vital in building great friendships and relationships and will benefit them in later life.
Communication And Language
Due to the nature of play, children 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 speaking and listening with their peers, ultimately helping them to develop their vocabulary and communication skills.
Every new environment provides new experiences and ways of playing, complete with exciting scenarios and toys. This naturally provides 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’re looking to incorporate water play equipment within your school, then our team at Red Monkey Play will be more than happy to help you!
Please don’t hesitate to contact us. You can either email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our Leicester office on 0116 366 9922 or our London office on 020 38445 525 to book a free consultation.