The Wonder of Water Play!

Ginger Carlson
August 28, 2008

Water is a tremendous and abundant element of the earth. It provides a sensory experience, connection to nature, and insight into the mysteries our world holds. Water play offers opportunity to develop emotionally, cognitively, and physically. On top of all that, it is one of the easiest sources for our children to tap into their creativity and thinking skills. And here we are; summer is nearing its end. But that doesn't mean the water fun needs to end along with it. As you enter the transition period that often is September, keep in mind all of the wonderful ways you can keep the magic and creative wonder of water play alive in your home.


Rub a Dub Dub; Creativity in the Tub.

Playing in the bath is a complete sensory experience and is a wonderful opportunity to develop understanding of the world and creativity to its fullest, whatever the age.As children bathe, there are plenty of opportunities to turn this everyday task into an exploration of science, art, and just pure creative fun. From empty shampoo bottles and favorite toys to a slew of found objects throughout the house, keep a bag or basket in the tub and guide your child in making predictions about what will float and what will sink.Change the items regularly to keep the experiments fresh and exciting.In addition, the bathtub is a great place to let artistic summer energy live on while making cleanup easy.Try mixing equal parts dishwashing liquid with tempera paint for wonderful, easy-to-wash-off tub paint.Or use shaving cream and a few drops of color, sponges, brushes, bath mitts, or squeegees on the tub walls.

Bubbly Fun
Bubbles are perpetually intriguing for people of all ages.Whether in the tub or outdoors while the weather lasts, take bubble creativity further by offering the challenge of creating your own unique bubble blowers.Use wire hangers, pipe cleaners, string, or pieces of aluminum foil or plastic wrap.Experiment with how to make extra large or small bubbles.Can you make bubbles inside of bubbles? How about square, triangular, or heart shape bubbles? How about colored bubbles? For strong, long lasting bubbles, try this recipe:

Magic Bubbles
Cup of water
Cup of liquid dishwashing soap
3 teaspoons glycerin

Combine the glycerin and water. Pour in the dishwashing soap. If you do not have glycerin, use 1/8 cup of corn syrup instead.If you use corn syrup, let it sit for a few hours before using it.

The Ways Water Moves
One continually intriguing aspect of beach play is the way the water naturally moves in the sand, how it snakes its way up the beach, fills the ravines you have created, and slips through your fingers, only to find its way back out to sea.Well, just because you may be about to leave the beach, doesn't mean you must relinquish the joy of moving water. One of our favorite ways to explore the many properties of water, is to move it through tubes.Use simple plastic pipe (available at home improvement stores) for added creativity and problem solving. Provide your children with an array of shapes and configurations to make waterways with. Because they easily snap and unsnap, there is a different configuration each time, and the possibilities for exploration can seem endless.

But for the Kitchen Sink
Young children are forever interested in the items we use everyday.Allow them moments to experiment with the whisk, egg beater, squeegee, measuring cups, funnel, or turkey baster.If you are uncomfortable with giving up your own precious kitchen tools for such explorations, check garage sales and dollar stores for inexpensive household items.And don't be afraid to let your child stand at the sink and wash the dishes.Filling the same cups over and over again is a wonderful way for them to learn concepts such as volume and capacity.Luckily, water is one of the easiest things to clean up so ongoing sink play and wonder can be had with very little effort.

Water exploration is not just a simple endeavor for the summer. In fact, water is an anytime must-play activity, one that provides children with experiences they get through few other materials.So let the wave of creativity wash over you and your children.Explore, learn, and create with our world's most abundant resource: water.

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    I love these ideas - and they are great for "other than summer" seasons too. Thank you, Ginger.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    I love these ideas - and they are great for "other than summer" seasons too. Thank you, Ginger.

    over a year ago


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