Make the most of Water Play this Spring!
Splashing in puddles, playing with the garden hose, wading in the paddling pool, filling and pouring buckets of water are some of our most joyful childhood memories!
Here at Newby Leisure, we are passionate about outdoor play and education - perfecting all our timber play equipment and playground design to be both fun and educational for early years children!
Water is fascinating, encouraging natural experimentation, creativity and imagination. Children love to explore the properties and structure of water - It helps them to make sense of their natural environment.
What can children learn from Water Play?
Water play has many educational benefits, helping children to learn important skills in mathematics and science, as well as supporting cognitive and physical development. Through water play children learn new vocabulary, enhancing their confidence and social skills. Water play is developmentally appropriate regardless of the child’s physical condition, age, language, gender, culture, or exceptionality (Bredeikamp, 1987). Below are six reasons why water play is so important for early years.
You can create a water play centre at home or school using specific mathematical concepts. These could be plastic numbers or words used in a water unit. During water play, you can incorporate mythical words as you play or use the numbers to make equations. Children will begin to learn words such as, empty/full, shallow/deep, more/less, liquid and measurements.
Water play often leads children to ask many questions. What does water do? Why does it change states? Curiosity prompts experimentation - thinking as they explore and have fun using water. They will begin to learn about the basic properties of water and how it can change state from a liquid to a solid. How we need water to survive and how it can be used to create energy.
Cognitive development is a term used to describe how children have a drive to make sense of the world around them (Piaget, 1954). For example, a child playing with a variety of different sized objects in water might conclude that heavy objects sink and light objects float. Children build incomplete mental maps for concepts, “objects that float” and “objects that sink”. If they discover that a heavier object will float they will challenge this concept and adjust their thinking framework. If early years aren’t given the time and opportunity for lots of exploration, they will formulate fewer meaningful concepts. Water play is great for promoting problem-solving and thinking skills, however, it is particularly well suited to developing concepts in mathematics and science.
Water play centres/units promote the use of both small and large muscle groups in early years. Additionally, water play helps children to enhance their motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Children will naturally build their larger muscle groups as they fill, lift and empty buckets full of water. Smaller muscle groups are worked when children fit plastic tubes to funnels and use squeeze bottles to fill up their buckets. Also, eye-hand coordination is practiced when hand whisks, scoops, nets and egg-beaters are used in the water.
Building Social Skills
Water play can be both enjoyed as a solitary exercise or in a group setting. Water play is great for cooperative play and can encourage children to play harmoniously together. They will learn how to share and negotiate the use of different materials. As a result, they will begin to consider the needs of other children whilst they have a great time playing.
Building Language Skills
Play is a great way for children to learn and develop their language skills. Water play helps them to build on their vocabulary. They will learn new words such as funnel, float, pour, sieve, flow and surface. Positional words are also learnt during playing with water. New vocabulary such as above, next to, aside and on top. In addition to the benefits of oral language development, activities such as water play can be extended to written language. Plastic letters can be used in the water to spell out words and sentences that express how a child feels or if they want to ask any questions.
Newby Leisure’s Children’s Wooden Weights and Scales Table is robust and hard-wearing. This educational resource is perfect for early years - they will learn how to predict, estimate, compare, contrast and evaluate different materials as they play.
Children's Petrol Pump
This resource is perfect for water play in a group! Newby Leisure has designed this product to enhance social and communication skills amongst early years. This pump can be used to flush water out of the tube at the end. The Children’s petrol pump is made from FSC Pressure Treated Redwood Timber and built to withstand all weathers.
The Messy Play Table is designed to enhance language skills and communication, whilst having lots of water play fun! This educational resource is great for group play - children can gather around this unit to play and create with water, sand and mud. Through water play, children learn how to collaborate and negotiate whilst in a team.
Both engaging and fun, this fantastic mobile resources will keep children engaged in water fun activities for hours. This product is designed for children in furtherance of developing their sensory and water play experiences. This resource is easy to move and is ideal for early years learning. They can use the hand pump to push the water through the tubes and into the guttering. The water will flow down the guttering into a placed bucket for the cycle to be repeated.
The H Shaped Water Wall is both challenging and exciting! This educational resource gets children thinking about fluidity and measures. Your little ones will love pumping the water through the channels and watch the water flow down the water wall! Children will naturally move the pipes and reposition them to help develop their hand and eye co-ordination. This resource is perfect for your back garden, any school, nursery or pre-school.
The Mini Water Fun Unit is the perfect everyday water play resource. Children will enjoy working in groups filling the tray. As they play they will boost social engagement and enhance their language skills. They can fill the tray with letters and numbers to expand their play and learning in logical disciplines.
A-hoy! Newby Leisures Activity Boat is ideal for water play and role play. This boat can be used as a pirate boat, fishing boat or anything your child desires. They will love climbing in and out of this boat and riding stormy seas. Complete with a flat base, it will lend itself to any playground or residential garden. This resource would be perfectly partnered with the Children’s Petrol Pump.
If you’re looking for a mark marking and water play item in one, look no further! Newby Leisure has designed a Water Tunnel perfect for your garden or in a school setting. Watch as they pump water over the tunnel or use the easy-wipe Lexan for mark marking. To enhance social engagement amongst early years you can add colourants to the water for an added effect!
Take care this Spring and let us know what your favourite water play activity is!?
Thanks for reading!
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