The value of water play

Why is water play so important?

Isn't it interesting what kids will choose to do when they have a whole playground to explore?! Without a doubt, water taps and puddles are often major draw cards!

... For some excellent information on exploring water play and conservation in early childhood practice, check out this poster created by the Early Childhood Australia Sustainability Interest Group, Victorian Branch, 2008 here .

I've summarised the main points as follows:
- Although Australia experiences extremely low rainfall, it has one of the highest per capita water consumption rates in the world!
- "We need to work together to improve this statistic and early childhood, where life long habits are formed, is the critical time to start"

- "Water is at the root of all life; without it we cannot survive and as such it connects to us in a root way. Outdoor play should allow children to be surrounded by water based experiences from jumping in a puddle to hearing it trickle over stones" (Warden, 2007, as cited by Early Childhood Australia, 2008).
 - With drought being a natural occurrence we need to nurture children's experiences with water, as they will become tomorrow's leaders and innovators in water conservation. 
- The amount of water used in children's water play is minimal compared to water use across Australia. Restricting water in children's water play is inconsequential.
- "(Water) is a precious substance with many interesting properties for young children to investigate" (Elliott & Emmett, 1997, as cited by Early Childhood Australia, 2008)  
- There are many, many ways to conserve and reuse water in early childhood settings and in the home.    

-  "Water play is open-ended, offering opportunities for social interactions, physical skills and concept development, including: scientific investigation; soothing sensory exploration; connection with natural materials; full body engagement; hand-eye coordination and the manipulative skills of lifting, pouring, controlling; mathematical and scientific concepts of heavy/light, float/sink, full/empty, shallow/deep, and learn about measuring, estimating, and conservation of volume; concentration and problem solving skills." 

There are endless possibilities for water based activities for kids - and they needn't be complex! Puddles; a water tray with animals, funnels, tubes, strainers, pouring jugs, buckets, scoops, spray bottles, ice cube trays; plastic plumbing pipes in the sandpit, with watering cans, buckets and spades...or a trip to the beach!

In Edinburgh, the council is actually investing in more water play opportunities for kids! Great stuff!! Check out the article here .

Thanks for visiting Kids' Play Space!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested to check out:
Blue Ice Block Boats - a lesson in child led play 
The Stove Cooker 
A Road Side Mud Kitchen Adventure 

happy playing,
'til soon,
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  1. Yes please, more water! You are right Anna, kids can't get enough. I remember the time my oldest child at the age of four got to run under the sprinkler for the first time. Water restrictions had meant we couldn't do this for his first few years of life. What an exhilarating feeling. And by playing with water we learn to preserve water.

    1. I remember loving the sprinkler so much as a kid too! Now I need to get my thinking cap on re how to create different water experiences in our tiny (concreted) outdoor area!! Ideas always welcome:-) ps - hope you have your sprinkler handy this hot weekend! Enjoy!


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