Water play is a great tool for helping with your baby’s sensory development. Touching and splashing in water is an amazing and calming experience for your little one, and it also teaches them about gravity, problem-solving, cause and effect. Water play is an activity that can be fun for both you and your baby.
Fill a shallow dish, such as a baking tray or flat bowl, with lukewarm water. You don’t need a lot of water but it can be a good idea to keep some more nearby in case it gets tipped out!
It’s also a great idea to keep a towel on hand to dry off little hands and toes after water play. And remember to always supervise your little one when they are playing in or near water.
Choose a spot that you don’t mind getting a little wet, and lie your little one on their back on a towel in front of the dish of water. Gently put their feet into the dish of water. Allow their little toes to splash through the water and watch your baby’s delighted reaction as they explore this new environment.
Talk to your little one as they play, and describe what they are doing and feeling, for example “You made a big splash in the water with your feet!” or “The water on your toes is nice and warm, isn’t it?”
Let your baby play with the water until they have had enough of the activity – you may notice that your little one starts to yawn, look away, or squirm when they are bored.
When your baby is old enough, you can extend this activity by turning them over onto their tummy and propping their chest up with a pillow. Then, put their little hands into the dish filled with water and allow them to enjoy this sensory experience. This is also a great way to encourage “Tummy Time”, which strengthens arm and neck muscles in preparation for crawling. (Just remember to keep a close eye on them!)
Water play is a great way for your baby to investigate their world through learning about movement and textures, and playing with water will help with their physical and sensory development.