I cannot imagine a quality early learning program without water! Even small amounts of water will add interest to many play experiences.
Here are a few reasons why I love to use water…
- Water is calming.
- Water can be poured into containers of various sizes which provides the opportunity for exploring concepts like conservation of mass.
- Water can be mixed with sand, food colour, dish soap or flour for different results.
- Water can be used to care for plants.
- Water is great for pretend play.
- Water evaporates so children can explore another science concept.
- Water is a natural element.
- Water can be used in many different ways… the possibilities are endless.
“We will never know the worth of water until the well is dry.” -Benjamin Franklin
The last thought I will leave you with in terms of using water with young children is moderation. From a very young age, children can begin to understand the idea of using a moderate amount of something (water, for example) so that there is enough left for their friends. Thinking of others is of utmost importance and in my experience it is easier to teach this to a young child than an older person.
Am I suggesting we leave a sprinkler on all day for children to run through? No. Am I suggesting that when they dump or pour out what we have given them, they should be allowed more? No.
When I give children water, I usually let them know that there is a limit. So for example, when there is no water left in the rain barrel, we have to wait until it fills with rain again. They may not understand the bigger picture but that is okay. The important thing is we start teaching the idea of moderation early. Water play can be a great way to do that.