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Wet and Wild Water Play For Toddlers

by Tania Cowling | July 28th, 2014 | Development, Infants/Toddlers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADuring the summer months, let your toddlers engage in wet and wild water play with activities that are excellent sources of learning, exploration, and problem solving. And, think how water play is easy on the budget as most activities are free.

Begin with time in the backyard. Play with a sprinkler or garden hose. Show your youngster how to make a rainbow appear between the water spray and sunshine. Next, encourage them to pour water from one container to the next. Poke holes into one container and let the water trickle out like raindrops. In the sandbox, divide the sand into two parts. Wet half the sand and leave the other half dry. Tramp and parade through the wet sand to make footprints (maybe handprints too!). Walk through the dry sand. Does it look the same? How does it feel on your bare feet?

Toddlers Can Learn Simple Science With Water

Young children can begin to store science experiences and explorations in their mind that will become the base of future science knowledge. They will build upon these simple concepts later in life. Here are a few science experiments to try at home.

Water takes many forms. Help your toddler fill an ice cube tray with water. Observe the liquid in each little section. Freeze the tray to make ice cubes and observe the changes the next day. Let the children touch the cubes. How do they feel? Bring out a magnifying glass and take a look. Can you still see through the ice to the bottom of the tray? Now, fill two cups with the cubes, placing one indoors and one outside. Which one melted first? Look at the melted cubes and then put the cups back into the freezer to refreeze and complete the cycle. This reinforces the concept that water takes many forms. Water also becomes fog outside and steam. From a distance, show your toddler steam coming out from a teakettle. Venture outside on a foggy day and see how this mist takes over the atmosphere. Can you see each other through the fog?

Water affects different things in different ways. Young children love to play with sponges. Allow them to experiment with them to transport water from one spot to another. Squeeze the saturated sponges into containers to see just how much water they hold. Another fun activity is to manipulate medicine droppers. Show your toddler how to squeeze and release the bulb. See how much water goes up the tube and then let it out. Both activities help your little ones develop their hand dexterity as well as learning how water works.

Some objects float on water and some don’t. Talk about floating and sinking in water. Fill a shallow pan with water. Collect objects like buttons, soap, leaves, rocks, pencil, and such. Let the children experiment with these items. Will they float or sink?

Take advantage of these warm summer days to experiment with water both indoors and outside. There is much more to this liquid than just taking a bath or swimming. Enjoy this time – capitalize on curiosity and a child’s love of water.

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