What is water play?
The Summer heat is fast approaching. This means that we need to find ways to beat the heat without sacrificing opportunities for play. And what better way to spend a summer afternoon than at a playground with water play features. Kids can use sprayers for keeping cool, running water courses to make boats or dams and when combined with sand; castles and sculptures can be created. Water play creates a tactile experience that can stimulate creativity, problem solving and understanding of the world.
Why choose water play?
Water play increases social and emotional development in kids. Children can benefit from the therapeutic nature of repetitive water flow. The sort of precision used in pouring can help fine motor skill and hand-eye coordination development. Lastly, playing with water is a great introduction to scientific and mathematical concepts. These can include measurement, volume, and physics as well as empty and full. Different set-ups can teach kids key social skills such as taking turns, sharing the equipment and materials and playing cooperatively and collaboratively.
Be aware of the risks of water play
There are definitely a wide range of benefits to water play opportunities. However, there are also some risks that come with using water in play spaces. For instance, some areas may lack sufficient drainage and will leave water pooled on surfaces. Remember to always supervise water play, it only takes 20 seconds and a few centimeters of water for a child to drown. Subsequently, pooling water increases the risk of mossy build-up and slips. You may also see an increase in insect and pathogen breeding in still pools of water.
How to introduce water play at home
Even if we can’t get out to a dedicated water play park, a set up in the backyard can be the next best thing. Water play can be as simple as running through a sprinkler in the backyard or using pouring jugs. If you are setting up for water play in your yard, make sure the area is free of hazards that kids can trip over and practice good sun safety.
Need some advice about your playground?
Kidsafe Qld are specialists in injury prevention. Our mission is to keep kids out of hospital and prevent injuries at home, on the road and at play. We offer comprehensive playground inspection and consultation services and run regular playground visual inspection training courses. Call Kidsafe Qld 07 3854 1829