The puddles, the splashes of water, the garden fountains bring to mind carefree memories of childhood. Water games promote problem solving and help develop scientific and mathematical concepts.
They are suitable for the development of children of all physical conditions, ages, languages, genders and cultures. Water is intriguing, it seems to attract children to explore its properties. It will be up to the teacher or parent to structure the environment and materials to make the most of this activity.
WHAT CAN CHILDREN LEARN FROM WATER GAMES?
Carefully prepared, a play area with water, both internal and external, can favour:
- Cognitive development.
- Development of scientific concepts.
- Development of social and physical skills.
- Language development.
Piaget argued that children have a method of making sense of their world. Given ample opportunities that help children build mental maps (frameworks), through which they develop concepts.
Finally, they assimilate new information to insert into these mind maps, to refine and expand already constructed concepts (Wadsworth 1989).
When the new information does not fit into an existing framework. The structure must be modified and corrected in order to acquire the new inputs and allow the child’s cognitive learning.
For example, a child playing in water with a multitude of objects might come to the wrong conclusion, that heavy objects and light objects float. Seeing,
Another example, a trunk floating, he would find himself in a situation of cognitive dissonance. But, precisely through the analysis of the situation, he can correct his cognitive framework.
Development of scientific concepts:
Depending on the materials that the teacher selects can be developed. Mathematical concepts such as empty / full, shallow / deep, major / minor. But this is only a sample of concepts, you can find new ones.
Scientific concepts such as energy, the properties of liquids, the state of matter, through inductive and deductive thinking. Inductive thinking uses facts and concepts to construct a generalized conclusion.
Deductive thinking, on the other hand, is based on particular events in support of general principles. Children then engage in deductive and inductive thinking by exploring the properties of water.
Development of social and physical skills:
Whatever the form of play, children have many opportunities to find out what happens if they share materials and ideas. It is no coincidence that water games can be solitary or cooperative, if you pursue a common goal that therefore allows you to develop social skills.
Furthermore, water games also allow the development of physical skills:
- Fine motor skills, through the transfer of water.
- Gross-motor, such as moving buckets.
- Eye-hand coordination, through the retrieval of objects with pliers or nets.
When children play, they use and learn the language naturally. The experiences of water games allow them to learn a multitude of vocabulary inherent to that particular activity.
In addition to the benefits of oral language development, water games can also lead to improvements in written language.
HOW TO ORGANIZE A SPACE FOR WATER GAMES?
Inside or outside, a space for water multiplayer games can be organized in a simple way. Respecting the budget available to us and using common objects present at school, at home or in nature.
It is important to carefully select the materials to be used, both on the basis of quality and on the basis of educational value. On the market, there are different types of decant tables.
Those only with water or those combined with water and sand. If the objects available to the child are frequently renewed, the child’s interest increases and with it divergent thinking.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE TEACHER OR PARENT?
The role of the teacher involves communicating to parents. The value of correct play according to the child’s stage of development (Taylor 1991). But above all, the teacher must be able to encourage this kind of playful activity. How?
- Structure the game in such a way that children can have interesting materials.
- Involve them in active listening, using new vocabulary, encouraging them to hypothesize and observe.
- Ask them about the activity they are doing to give them the opportunity to tell what they have learned.
- Occasionally help them evaluate their efforts and plan the next day’s activity.
We must not overlook the fact that water, our most abundant resource in nature. Is a precious commodity and is very useful for learning and playing outdoors in early childhood. Water is not just for washing and it’s not just for ducks either, but also for children to have fun and learn.