Splish, Splash! Learning Through Water Play
Splashing and squealing, dumping and filling, pouring and swishing — water play provides endless fun for children and leads to discovery and learning!
Water tables are set up in our Day Early Learning classrooms throughout the year, and during the summer our teachers facilitate weekly outdoor water play activities, which we call “splash days.” From sprinklers to water tables, splash day activities let children cool off and have fun, while encouraging their learning and growth.
Water play allows your child the opportunity to develop fine and gross motor skills. By squirting, pouring and stirring water, children work on their fine motor skills. They develop their coordination skills as they dodge water or jump through the sprinkler.
Children learn scientific concepts and the properties of water as they experiment and make discoveries at the water table. Teachers encourage children to observe, predict, describe and theorize about what they are doing. Concepts like sinking, floating and how water flows are introduced through various materials.
Mathematical concepts such as measurement, weight and volume can be introduced through water play. When children pour water from a small container into a big one, they learn which one has more and which has less. Teachers use math words such as full and empty, and include materials like measuring cups, colanders or ladles.
Water play can help children calm their emotions. Pouring, stirring and swooshing water releases tension. Also, as children work together at the water table they practice social skills. For example, children may negotiate and take turns using the funnel or work together to fill a bucket.
Teachers will guide discussions about what the children are doing and discovering, introducing new vocabulary. Teachers also include materials to support imaginative play such as play animals. This promotes pretend play where children can practice storytelling.