Splish Splash: The Benefits of Water Play in Early Childhood Development

Regardless of our age, most of us like spending time in the water, whether it’s swimming in the sea, a lake or in a pool, soaking in a hot tub or a spa, playing with water squirters or running under sprinklers. And while the fact that it is fun is a reason enough to do it every time we can, spending time in water and playing with water also comes with a set of benefits both for our physical and our mental health. But when it comes to children, the benefits are even greater.

Water play is a very broad term that includes many different activities that kids can do while playing around or in water. While summer is obviously the best time for this, water play can occur anytime regardless of the weather conditions. Like most of us, kids love water, and they could play even with a small puddle on the table. And, whether it’s in a pool, a hot tub, a bathtub or a bathing tub if you also give your child a pool toy, they will not only be entertained but will also improve their motor skills, cognitive skills, communication skills, etc. 

source: yourswimlog.com

Play is a very important segment of children’s life because through play they learn about the world and the people around them, as well as their own bodies and existence. That’s why the choice of toys is very important. When it comes to water play, it’s the same – the pool toys you choose can define the play, which will ultimately have an impact on their development. And sometimes even the simplest games and toys can make a huge difference. 

Pool toys are as diverse as any other type of toy. One of the ways to choose the toys you are going to buy is according to your little one’s age. So, for instance, if you want to teach your child how to swim there are excellent swimming pool toys for kids that can help a lot, there are toys that are designed for infants, and so on.

Improving Motor Skills 

Because it is so fun, water play encourages kids to move around trying new things, learn from their movements, challenge themselves, stay determined and focused on a task they give themselves. Naturally, as they move around in water children improve their muscle strength because the water adds resistance. Muscle strength, of course, is very important for developing motor skills. But most importantly the resistance added by the water will help kids strengthen their core muscles – considered the most important muscle group as it supports our spine and our major organs. 

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As a result of strengthening their core, all those movements in the water, kicking, swimming, slapping, throwing their pool toy, dancing, etc., can also help children to learn how to coordinate their bodies. Swimming, which is an exceptionally useful activity for people of all ages, will boost the development of motor skills even more. Children develop their muscles while swimming or learning how to swim, and they improve coordination. And more than that, as they play without worrying about falling down, they improve their balance. 

Furthermore, even a simple pool toy like a bucket can play a role in the improvement of your child’s motor skills. For instance, playing with a bucket pouring water or sands, trying to control where to pour, how much, etc., can boost the development of hand-eye coordination.

Cognitive and Social Skills 

Water play is a great way to engage your child and encourage them to set a strong foundation for their future, and not only for beginning school but also skills that they will use for the rest of their lives. For instance, playing in the water and with pool toys is mesmerising to children, which is why they can play with something for hours, exploring, experimenting, learning and having fun. This in turn will teach them how to focus and pay attention for long periods on certain tasks.  

source: swim-teach.com

Thanks to their endless curiosity and desire to learn new things about everything, as they play with water and their toys and learn how things work and why something happens as a result of something they do, they develop their problem-solving skills. Touching the water, sand, stones, mud soap, slime etc., and then jumping, splashing, and so on, will help them familiarise themselves even more with the world that surrounds us.

Furthermore, most kids love playing with other kids, which is very important for their social skills. Water play can give them a lot of opportunities to interact with each other and learn how to communicate, cooperate, share ideas, be more independent, etc. 

Self-Awareness and Exploring 

We all know how different our bodies feel when we are submerged in water. It’s hard to explain how different being in the water makes us feel. The weightlessness from the buoyancy, and the relaxation is incomparable to anything else. For kids, this sensation is completely new, giving them a chance to experience new feelings. It allows them to learn new textures, feel different temperatures, the breeze, the wind, new smells, etc.

pool toys
source: funbackyardpools.com

And as they start recognising how different it is to be in the water than outside of it, this new experience helps them understand the world even more. During water play, children also get introduced to new concepts like volume and weight, aquatic plants and animals and so on.