Have you ever noticed that water is soothing for children and they can never get enough of it during bath time? Water play is great for all ages; children can learn new science skills, have social opportunities, work on their physical development, and more from such experiences. So, one week after our first “Art in the Park” gathering, I decided to have an afternoon of water fun. Seven children joined in for some “Splish Splash on the Grass” at this week’s park activity.
To get us started, I brought a large bucket and filled it up with water from a spout underneath the water fountain at the park; other families brought water toys to share. It was a hot afternoon, so we gathered in the shade. It wasn’t long before the children began splashing alongside one another. One of the toddlers that joined us worked on her fine motor skills, as she squeezed a spray bottle and squirted water all of the grass. Some of the younger children, who were each around one year old, enjoyed scooping and dumping water. There were also a lot of attempts by the children to drink the water out of cups or off of toys, some of which went straight for their mouths. Some children needed assistance from the adults to learn how to share and interact with their peers. You can challenge children by asking them questions (even if they are nonverbal, they can understand you): “Why do you think the rock sank to the bottom, but the cup is floating on top?” Sank and float may be new vocabulary to the children so point as your talking and elaborate if necessary. As the splashing and water play came to an end, all the adults were happily surprised to realize that the children had stayed engaged for nearly a full hour!
As long as the weather allows it, we will continue to offer new sensory and art activities in the park each week. If you don’t live nearby, I encourage you to put together a similar group in a park near you. Multisensory opportunities, like playing in water, allow children to learn and grow by hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, and even tasting their surroundings; that’s why you’ll hear educators say, “Children learn through their senses.” Allow kids to get messy, learn through their play, and enjoy their childhood. See you at the park!
Kelsey Plimpton is currently a nanny in Boston and has been nannying for five years. She started as a part-time nanny while earning her associates degree in Early Childhood Education. Kelsey has worked with ages 2 months to 15 years in both nannying and babysitting positions, since the age of 13. While working with children she follows their interests to help create activities targeting developmental goals. She blogs with SitterCycle.com and is the Early Childhood Coordinator.