Written by Claire Stead, owner and creator of Oliiki. Water and children, always a great combination! But is it just fun or is there more to a child having fun and splashing about? From bath time to playing in the garden, paddling in a stream to swimming in it, children are fascinated by water and they love to play in it. Water can be an amazing teacher - without your child even realising it, they could be carrying out a science experiment, working on numbers, developing an understanding of capacity, sorting, sharing out, developing language, gross and fine motor control skills, developing their senses all at an early age! So, what sort of games can you play with a bit of water and your little one? A newborn: Using warm water and a sponge, trickle water on different parts of their body and look for their reaction. Talk about it, this is ‘serve and return’, a brilliant way to start getting them learning.
When your baby is able to sit, put them in a small amount of water and show them how to pat the water to make it splash up. This helps develop their core muscles and their balance, teaches them cause and effect and produces a lot of giggles! With your one year old, give them some water in a bowl and some pots (yoghurt pots are great for this). Get them to scoop water into the pots and then to pour water from one to the other. They are learning pouring skills, hand-eye coordination and capacity (which is an early mathematics skill) as well as critical thinking and problem solving! It is also strengthening their hand hold and pincer grip which later will help with holding a pencil. As your toddler gets older, you can give them their own baby to bath. This activity helps them to learn empathy and knowledge about body parts; self-care from bathing their baby; as well as developing their imagination and language as they chat to their baby. Science is showing us how important the first 1,000 days – from conception to 2 years old - are for a child’s learning. The learning that takes place in the earliest days of life sets the foundation for all other learning - those children who are exposed to daily stimulating experiences build stronger, better connections which, in turn, form a firm basis for all future learning. Not only are these children set on a path for better academic performance, but they also have better economic opportunities, health and resilience capacity, and better ability to navigate life successfully. So now the sun is shining, grab your baby or child and go and play in some water, knowing that not only are you having lots of fun you are also helping your child’s brain to grow!
Clare Stead is the owner and creator of Oliiki, the elearning app which provides daily activities from conception to 2 years old to help build stronger brains and start your baby on a learning journey of success. For more inspiration and ideas like this, download the Oliiki app at www.oliiki.com - currently offering Toddler About Readers £10 off - Get 33 months for £35 (r.r.p £45): New customers only. Fill out the contact form and quote 'Toddle About' (www.oliiki.com/contact/) a code will be emailed to you to download the app.