Children love to play with water. Inculcating different activities in the preschool curriculum using water play is essential for the development of skills in preschool children. Carefully designed activities done with water can enhance their concentration, small motor skills, large motor skills, and also add fun to the class routine. However, before doing the activities it is important for the teachers to plan out the day well:
- Parents should be asked to send an extra pair of clothing for the children on the day of water play.
- Children who are unwell should be given other activities to do.
- Water activities should be done barefoot so that children do not go home wearing wet socks and shoes.
- Water play activities should be included in the lesson plan during summer.
Through this post, I will be discussing some fun and effective water play activities that can be done in the classroom. These activities help in the development of concentration, small motor skills, large motor skills and also teaches the children about water in general. Before starting water play it is important to explain to the children that water should not be wasted. Let’s start splashing.
Let’s Wash Some Clothes
For this activity spread out a big plastic mat in class. Place a big shallow washing tub on the mat. Make the children sit around the tub. Give each child a napkin or any type of small clothing available from the school property. Ask children to dip the clothes in the tub 2-3 times. Tell the children this action is called soaking.
Then ask them to rub the clothes using both the hands as if they are washing the clothes. Ask children to dip the clothes in the water again. Tell them this action is called rinsing. Now ask the children to twist the clothes to squeeze out the water from the clothes, using both their hands. Tell the children this action is called wringing.
All these activities are very good for children’s wrists and grip. It strengthens their arms and hands.
Sink and Float
For this experimental activity, you will need to spread out a large mat. Place a round tub filled with water on it. Take many toys and distribute them amongst the children. Explain to the children that objects that are heavy will sink and those that are light will float in water. Ask children to put the toys given to them in water and then ask them what they observe. For example, a small toy boat would float. A toy block would sink.
This activity teaches the children that heavy things sink while lighter things float. It enhances their observation skills as they put the toys in the water themselves and reach the conclusion of whether the object is light or heavy, based on their observation.
As an activity, after children have finished playing, the teacher can collect all the toys and then show each toy to the children and ask them to state whether it will float or sink. The other way to do this is, the teacher can put the toy in the water and if it floats or sinks the teacher can ask the children to state the reason for it.
Guess The Shape
This activity is done for children to discover that water has no shape, but takes the shape of the container it is poured into. Drop some water on the classroom floor and let children observe how the water does not take any shape but spreads on the floor. Then take different transparent containers. For example, differently shaped glasses, bottles, large and small bowls, etc. Make the children sit around a shallow tub filled with water.
Put all the containers in the tub. Let the children fill water into the containers. The teacher tells the children to observe the shape of the water. The teacher then asks the children to pour the water from the container they are holding to another container. The children will observe that the water takes the shape of the new container.
This activity enhances their concentration and observation skills. It also enhances their motor skills. At the end of the activity, through their observations, children learn that water has no shape, but it takes the shape of the container it is poured in.
Lets Wade in Water
Children must be instructed to wear shorts for this water play activity as they have to walk in some water and long trousers would be inconvenient. This activity requires a big inflatable pool that is filled with water. Ask the children to step into the pool and start walking slowly without splashing any water. Children will notice it is not easy to walk in the water. This is because the water causes a resistance which makes it difficult to move forward.
This fun-filled exercise is very good for the leg muscles of the children. It strengthens their legs.
Let’s Go Sailing
This is a great activity to do while the teacher is teaching water transport in the classroom. The teacher teaches children to make origami boats using recycled paper. A tub filled with water is placed in the classroom. Each child is given the origami boat made by them. They place it in the water and enjoy watching their boats floating on the water.
Through this activity, children learn to make their own origami boats. It is always a good thing to teach children to use recyclable things for art and craft. They learn that boats are water transport.
Soak and Squeeze
Make all the children in the class sit around a tub filled with water. Give each child a piece of dry sponge. Ask the children to soak the sponge in water and observe what happens. The children will see that the sponge absorbs the water and becomes wet. Ask the children to lift the sponge. The children find the sponge is heavier than before.
The teacher explains that the sponge is heavier than before because of the water it has absorbed. Now ask the children to use both hands to squeeze out the excess water. The children notice that though the sponge is still wet it is lighter. The teacher explains that the sponge has become lighter as all the excess water has been squeezed out.
The above activity enhances the grip of the children and also makes them keen observers and develops their critical thinking skills.
It is important to involve children in the activities done in class. This makes them observant and makes them reach their own conclusions. This will enhance their critical thinking. Activities that are important for the physical development of the children are as important as those required for their cognitive development. So if both these skills can be developed simultaneously in a fun and child-friendly manner we must do these activities in the classroom.