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What Do Children Learn From Water Play?

Water play is good for children’s physical, mental (cognitive), and social-emotional growth. In sensory play there is no right or wrong way to play. When children pour water, they are improving their physical dexterity and eye-hand coordination. By playing with others in blowing bubbles or washing baby dolls, they develop social skills. At the same time, they use their minds as they explore why certain objects sink in water and others float. Children learn concepts such as empty/full, before/after, shallow/deep, and heavy/light in a hands-on way. Children learn new words that go along with water play, such as funnel, surface, float, and strain.

Imagine putting your hands into cool water on a hot day, feeling it drip from your fingers, the heavy feel of a container with water sloshing around. Water play delights the senses and is far more than simply pleasurable for young children. This type of sensory play is important for the development of the young child.



This list describes some of the many ways that water play helps development:

Physical Development

  1. Improves fine motor skills – lifting containers with water

  2. Improves eye-hand coordination – pouring water

Cognitive Development

  1. Shows math and science concepts: sinking and floating, volume

  2. Shows that the same amount of water may appear to be different when poured into different sized and shaped containers

  3. Increases vocabulary – wet, dry, sopping, sink, float

Social-emotional Development

  1. Provides opportunities to imitate the play of others – children wash baby dolls

  2. Provides opportunities for imaginative play

  3. Helps dramatic play – together children develop social skills

Aloha, Aunty Gel http://www.KaHanaPonoDaycare.com

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