Indoor Water Play

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Indoor Water Play

Pittsburgh is CRAZY weather! Today it’s almost 80 degrees, but a few days ago, we woke up in the 30’s! Gone are the bathing suit days of swimming pools and spray parks that our kids loved so much! My kids and our lovable neighbor kids love to throw on their suits and spray each other in the back yard with the hose! You know what else is gone?? The “Ice Bucket Challenge”! Phew! I successfully avoided dumping ice cold water on my head (but took the opportunity to educate my family about ALS and the importance of donating to research for all causes). Back to my point…water play!water play

So, how do babies and toddlers participate in water play? Backyard toddler pools come to mind, as well as splashing in the tub. How about cool activities like the Carnegie Science Center and the Children’s Museum (shout out!) both of which devote almost an entire FLOOR of their facility to water play! So, it must be IMPORTANT.

What is it about water play that our children love so much? Well, it can be CALMING. Especially when using warm water. It captures their ATTENTION! There is something mesmerizing about water…the sight – it FLOWS, the sound – think of the OCEAN, the smell – of the chlorine at the pool, or the salty water air. We mentioned touch already, but the FEEL of the water….flowing through your fingers, or in waves on your feet. Children LOVE it, and so do adults.

So, my question to you is…how can we reap the benefits of water play in the cold fall and winter months? We have already said that visiting local children’s attractions can sometimes offer a water feature…even the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium would offer the sight and sound of water. But what can we do at HOME. I’m always looking for creative ways to try new things. Here are a few ideas!

  • Dishpan fun! Using a dishpan or other plastic container, lay a bath or beach towel on the kitchen floor, and place the bin with a few inches of water on it. Strip your toddler or preschooler down to their diaper (or undies)…or be FUN and put on your bathing suit (I don’t have time for this usually – just being real 😉 )…and toss in some sponges or measuring cups, bowls and spoons. Anything to pour the water back and forth.
  • Wash the toys! Ewwww…yuck! In the winter months, everything is covered in germs. Why wait for your child to go to sleep, when you can have them help to wash the toys. Pull a chair to the kitchen sink and stay close. Fill up the sink enough for them to dunk and wash in the soapy water. Offer a rag or sponge…this could go on for hours!
  • Color the Water! Add some food coloring for an “Under the Sea” blue theme, or mix two colors together to see what happens in a dishpan or giant bowl of water.
  • Wash the Babies! Similar to “Wash the Toys”, but wash the baby dolls. Just make sure they are able to be submerged in water. Add bubble bath for fun!
  • Play in the Tub! Sometimes we get caught up in our routines…bathtime can occur ANY time of day, and really it doesn’t need to involve any actual soap. Just playing in the water in the tub can offer a wealth of fun! And very little clean up!

Water play is not just for the summer months! We can entertain and help our children learn thru play all year round using water! What are some of your favorite ways to play in water? Make a splash!