Splashing in streams, swimming in the sea, or just paddling in a rain puddle holds so much joy for a child. But it’s a sad fact of city living that water is often polluted and no longer a safe place to play. So how can you provide fun water games for your little ones without risk?
We’ve put together a series of Safe Play in the City blog posts for parents and kids who live in cities and feel like they don’t have much space to play. Written with child development in mind, they’re packed-full of safe play activities focused on making play accessible to every child whether you’ve got a garden or not.
Visit the Kids’ Activities section for more fun & safe play ideas to do with your child. We’ve got some suggestions for clean and safe play with water so that your child doesn’t have to miss out just because you live in a city.
Fun and educational water games
Water play is something that almost every child loves. Water fosters curiosity, experimentation and imagination in kids. They can also learn about key natural concepts such as floating and sinking, how water flows, how it can be contained and how it can power simple mechanical processes. But of course, for your child to enjoy water games safely, the water they play with needs to be clean. Make sure you are confident that the water you use in these activities is safe for play – and remind your child that this water is to play with, not to drink!
Water games for kids outside and inside
With some clever use of household objects you can help your child create a mini-waterfall or river, even in a very small yard or apartment. If you’re doing this activity indoors you could use the bathroom or kitchen sink area. If you’re playing outdoors use a corner of the garden or yard where water will flow away rather than stand in puddles or pools when you’ve finished.
You could even use it to water your plants when the play is over. Gather pots and containers from around the home – these could be pans from the kitchen, old coconut shells, plastic plates or cups. Now find some “tubes”. These could be clean pieces of plastic pipe, hollowed bamboo or even old plastic drinks bottles with the bottom cut out and will be used to get the water from one pot to another. Challenge your child to build a watercourse that will help water travel from a starting point to a finishing point (a bit like a river flowing to a waterfall).
If you live in a flat, then make use of your balcony area, you can even tie bottles to the balcony railings using string and connect them using the tubing to get the water from one bottle to another. Now give your little one the freedom to play. Encourage them to think about the direction the water will flow and to solve engineering challenges to get the water to the place they want it to finish.
Solutions for water games in small spaces
If your home is just too small for homemade waterfalls don’t worry! There is still the possibility to play fun water games for kids. Use three or four small containers and fill them with water. Then help your child to add food colouring to the water.
What happens when your child mixes the colours? What happens to the tone of the colour if they add more water? Can they create a colourful water rainbow by lining-up different pots of coloured water in a row? Help your child learn about the way water works by asking them to answer three questions while they are playing:
- Does water ever flow uphill?
- Which objects float on the water?
- Which objects sink in the water?