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Babies Love Water Play With a Dishpan

by Tania Cowling | July 4th, 2016 | Entertainment, Infants/Toddlers

1-year-old-playing-with-dish-of-waterSplish, splash, baby’s NOT taking a bath! Water isn’t just for getting clean. In fact, water play encourages discovery and stimulates interest in the physical world. When it comes to play, babies don’t mind getting wet. That’s why water play is entertaining and educational at the same time and can be performed indoors or outside. It’s a very inexpensive toy, just the use of a dishpan and one of our very own natural resources—water.

“At no other time, aside from prenatal development, does your baby grow, change, and learn more rapidly than during these early years. By providing a stimulating environment, you—as a parent or caregiver—can help your baby reach his developmental potential during this critical time,” states Penny Warner from her book, Baby, Play & Learn (Meadowbrook Press). “Letting your baby/toddler play with water encourages development of the senses and opportunities for exploration, discovering new concepts and learning new vocabulary.”

So, get out a plastic dishpan and let the play begin! Here are a few ideas to make water play a favorite activity with your little one. Add cups, spoons, and funnels for him to play with. Another time, you can use two pans of water, one cool and the other one warm. Encourage your little one to play freely in both pans. Talk to him about the different temperatures. Talk about how the water feels in the two pans.

Attune to your child’s senses by adding a scent to the water. Baking extracts are a safe way to make the water smell like peppermint, orange, and lemon. He can visualize the water by adding color using food coloring. Just a drop or two will change the color of the water and to your child—this opens a new horizon of play.

Babies get excited with items that float – below are a few ideas.

Ice is a new toy. Freeze water in different kinds of containers to make a variety of ice shapes. Then sit your little one on the floor with a plastic basin in front of her. Unmold the ice and place these into the basin. Encourage your child to play with the ice shapes. Wearing gloves or mittens will protect your child’s hands from the extreme cold.

Entice your baby/toddler with a new water toy. Cut shapes from clean foam produce trays. Cut geometric shapes; circles, squares and triangles. Place these shapes in a basin of water and invite your little one to play with them. She can dunk them underwater and watch the shapes float to the surface.

Add ping-pong balls for lots of fun. Your baby/toddler can try to keep the balls under the water–but they always “pop” up. For added fun, draw faces on the balls using a waterproof marker. Add a couple other toys to the water. Which ones pop up and which ones sink?

So, don’t be afraid of water play—at times you may get soaking wet, but just think how this tool can increase your child’s living-learning experiences. Just have fun — there is no right or wrong way to do it.

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