Connecting with your baby through water play

Posted by on Jun 12, 2013 in Play | 0 comments

Water play is probably one of my favorite sensory activities for children of all ages. I have introduced water play with both of my babies very early on.  As soon as they were able to sit reasonably well I had them splashing in water.  Water play isn’t as messy as it sounds and there are lots of ways to pull together an activity in just a few minutes.  It is also a good way to sneak in a little cleaning help from your toddler.  Water play is my go-to activity in the hot summer months when my kids are particularly bored or unsettled.  There is just something so engaging and relaxing about playing with water that it can capture their attention for long periods of time.

Water play for babies:  Keep it really simple.

Babies don’t need access to a lot of water for play; about a cup of water is good to start with.  It is a good idea to keep an extra supply nearby in case it does get tipped out.  Let them sit on the floor on a towel to work. Pour the water into a small, clear, shallow-sided container so that it is easy for them to access and reach.  I like to use a shoebox-sized rectangular plastic craft-bin type of container.

Tips:  I like to add a several small cups or containers that are easy to hold, a spoon and a few plastic blocks or small toys.  I like to put in a few smooth, flat river rocks as a natural element and the rocks tend to change color a bit as they get wet and then dry out again. Make sure you choose larger stones that aren’t a choking hazard.

Your babies will probably get a little wet so be sure to dress them in play clothes that you don’t mind getting messy and wet. If it is really hot and you are indoors or have a nice shady spot, just let them go in a diaper.  This is also a perfect time to let them go diaper free. You may also like to keep a dry towel nearby for a quick dry off when your baby is done playing.

In cooler weather use warm water and sit your baby somewhere sheltered out of the wind on a beach towel if you are inside or on the porch.

Connect:  As you sit with your babies, talk to them about what they are doing – simply say what you see them doing, “You are splashing with your hands”  Ask:  “Can you put a rock in the cup?” while demonstrating the action yourself. Through simple water play, your baby is learning more than you know about seemingly complex scientific  concepts like volume and how much a container can hold, absorption,  evaporation , temperature,  the difference between wet and dry, and whether something can float.  Give them the chance to pour, scoop, and yes spill  to help these concepts take root at an early age.

*Children should always be supervised closely when they are around water. Never leave your child alone when he or she is playing with water.

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