Little Red Hen
Centre for Early Childhood Care and Education
The Value of Play
Small World Play
Policies & Procedures
weather brings many opportunities for fun and learning through water play.
Puddles, spray bottles, garden sprinklers, water tables, and wading pools
naturally fascinate young children, and water is one of the basic raw
materials for learning mathematics and science, developing language, and
fostering social skills.
Mathematic concepts can
be learned using a variety of inexpensive materials. Assorted containers
and funnels can help children develop concepts such as empty/full, before/after,
shallow/deep, and heavy/light.
Individual water tubs at
a table are great for enhancing fine motor skills. For younger children,
eye-hand coordination can be practiced by retrieving objects with tongs,
aquarium nets, scoops, and fingers. Small muscles get a workout as plastic
tubes are fitted to funnels and sponges are wrung dry. Very young children
may also enjoy spending many happy moments repetitively filling and emptying
Children can learn about
measurement by using measuring cups or discovering the best way to squirt
long and short distances using squeeze bottles or plant misters filled
A child’s vocabulary is
enriched as she uses words such as funnel, surface, float, and strain.
Adults can promote language acquisition by adding foam or rubber alphabet
letters or numbers to a container filled with water to be fished out with
nets. Name the letters or numbers they catch, spell out their names, or
see who can catch the highest or lowest number.
Make cleaning up part of
the learning experience using cloths and short-handled mops.
Create a dramatic play area
for children to wash doll clothes in a tub of sudsy water and hang them
up with clothespins to dry in the sun.
Even on cool days, children
can "paint" outdoors with water. Set up a paint shop by providing
a large paintbrush and partially fill a large can or small pail with water.
They can pretend to "paint" the path, walls, slide, and other
Provide a water tub for experiments and projects. Boats can be made from found objects or heavy aluminium foil. Older preschoolers can try out predictions by determining which of a variety of seeds and assorted items will float.