Articles and Advice

Water Play

Water play and summer go together extremely well. Water play is a great 'cool down' activity during warm weather. Also, when water play is extended to the play yard, the warm, often sunny, weather helps with water play clean up by naturally drying spills and puddles. Children almost universally enjoy water play. Teachers may be tempted to relax their supervision because water play activities easily capture the children's imaginations and keep them busy for long periods of time. However, although water play is extremely enjoyable, it is not without risks and, therefore, requires close supervision. Remember the following water play guidelines:

  • Wading pools are not appropriate for center water play. Sprinklers or water-filled sensory tables are better choices.
  • Water tables, tubs, etc. must be emptied, cleaned and sanitized at the end of each day. Standing water should never be left in water tables over night.
  • Close supervision of water activities is required. Children can drown in as little as one inch of water - be alert!
  • The ground around a water play area can become very slippery. Children should wear shoes (water shoes are best) during sprinkler or other water play.
  • Children should wash hands before and after play at water tables. It is acceptable to wash hands using liquid soap and running water from a hose or outdoor faucet.
  • Be alert to water play toys that are mouthed by children. Sanitize any toys that have found their way into children's mouths before returning them to the water. Similarly, remind children that the water in a water table or tub is for play and not for drinking. Have drinking water and cups nearby for thirsty children.

Although children love water play, they can become bored if the play is repetitious. Change water play toys regularly and look for enhancements to enrich the experience. For example, consider colored water or scented water.

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