Water Play Activities for Infants

by Sarah Bourque

    Stimulate your little one’s senses with creative water play activities. Sensory activities like water play can help your baby's cognitive growth as he practices new skills and explores his world. While you play with your baby, remember to go at his pace and look for signs of over-stimulation. A baby will most likely only stay engaged in a particular activity for a short time before he’s ready to move on. Also, keep safety first, and always stay within arm’s reach of your infant when he plays with water.

    Take bath time play to a new level by adding toys and activities. Besides rubber ducks and other squeeze toys, provide your infant with old, clean cups and containers with various holes poked in the bottom to use as sieves. When your baby lifts the container, talk about how many holes are in the bottom, and let the water go over his fingers, toes and belly while you name different body parts. Other exciting bath toys for baby include bubbles and boats.

    Help baby grow her green thumb with watering can play. Plant an entire sensory garden just for baby, filled with strong scented plants like mint or basil and edible flowers like carnations or chamomile, or stick with one small starter plant. Talk to your infant about the colors and smells she experiences outside. Fill a small child-sized watering can with enough water for your baby to pour while still able to lift it comfortably. Baby can water her plant, the grass and even herself on a hot day. She can hold her little fingers in the water and experiment with pouring the water out, and the plant or plants will gain the benefit of all that water. Just make sure your baby doesn't drown her plants with too much water.

    Sensory bottles provide a no-mess water play activity for baby. You can make these ahead of time with simple materials including empty water bottles, water, and small object like beads, buttons, small toys and sequins. Just drop the items in the bottles and fill the bottles from half to almost full of water. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring to each bottle. Screw the lids on as tightly as you can, and secure the lids with duct tape so they cannot be opened again. Now your baby is ready to shake, rattle and roll the sensory bottles around, listen for different sounds, and view how the items move around in the water.

    Painting with water is an appealing and fairly low mess way for your baby to experiment with water. All you need are paint brushes and/or sponges, water and an absorbent surface. Cement or the outside of the house on a hot day works great. In cooler weather, a chalkboard or colored construction paper set in a baking sheet with sides works well. Your child can work on fine motor skills and make lovely, although not permanent, works of art as she splashes about.

    About the Author

    Sarah Bourque has been a freelance writer since 2006 and is based in the Pacific Northwest. She writes and edits for the local publisher, Pacific Crest Imprint and has written for several online content sites. Her work recently appeared in "The Goldendale Tourism and Economic Development Magazine" and "Sail the Gorge!" magazine. She attended Portland Community College where she studied psychology.

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