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  • Gina

Simple Sponge Water Play

In this BLOG post, I will explain what sponge water play, how to set it up and what the benefits are.

The benefits of water play are absolutely endless! On top of the amazing benefits of sensory play, children can explore math concepts, temperature, vocabulary words & work on real life skill such as pouring.

For this simple sponge water bin, all you need is:

  • A sensory tray or bowl

  • Water

  • Clean sponges, cut into strips

You can make all of the strips the same size or cut them in varied lengths and widths to add an extra layer or mathematical fun into your play!

This activity is SO great because it's not only simple but so very effective. As kids squeeze and squish the sponges, they are strengthening fine motor skills. They are also exploring temperature, texture and color!

If you want to add an extra layer of sensory fun into your play, squirt a few drops of food coloring in with the water!

When you're done, squeeze out all of the water and lay the sponges on a towel to dry. Then you can reuse them over and over again! Water play, sponge painting, muddy animal car wash, toy truck wash and more!

What is water play?

Water play is any activity where children can explore their senses through water. Warm water, cold water, ice cubes- each holds its own benefits and learning opportunities. Add in buckets, scoops & bowls & you have yourself a perfect set-up!

Sensory Play is:

  • An excellent way to connect with your kids (and your own inner child!) as you spend time together making the recipes even before play begins!

  • Eco-friendly: you control the ingredients that go into it and use much less packaging. 

  • Budget-friendly: most recipes last up to 6 months if stored properly.

What are the benefits of water play?

  1. Water play supports fine & gross motor development.  The more kids can squishy & squeeze & smush & pour, the stronger their fingers & hands get. The stronger those hands are, the easier it will be to zipper your coat, feed yourself & hold a pencil. They are also working on balance, coordination & core strength as they play!

  2. Water play supports language & vocabulary.  While kids play, they are exposed to a large variety of language & vocabulary opportunities. They then have frequent opportunities to use what they are learning, as well as communicate their needs, during play!

  3. Water play supports social & emotional skills.  If you are playing with your child or they are playing with a friend, there will be lots of time for them to practice sharing, using their manners, being patient & being a kind friend.

  4. Water play supports self-regulation.  For some kids (and adults) water play is soothing. As they scoop & pour & splash around, they are calming their bodies & working on important self-regulation techniques.

  5. Water play increases focus & time-on-task.  Kids can fall deep into play as they explore a water table. They may just be splashing around or they may be creating & using their imaginations.

  6. Water play teaches Math & Science concepts.  Through hands-on exploration, kids can learn about volume, weight, flow of water, temperature, more/less & weight.

  7. Water play is a fun & inexpensive way to participate in sensory play. During sensory play, children are able to connect to the world around them through their senses . They can scoop & squeeze & dump & pour. They can splash & push. They can smell & taste (sometimes). They can hear & feel & explore texture. So much good can come from one little sensory bin!

Ways to enhance your play:

  • While they are exploring, introduce or reinforce color names, using the sponges.

  • Ask them to squeeze all of the pink sponges or all of the blue ones.

  • Practice sorting the sponges by color.

  • Work on patterning: squeeze the pink sponge, then the yellow. Ask, "Can you follow my pattern?"

  • Add in a plastic cup or bow. Count how many squeezes of the sponge it will take to fill the cup.

What else can you add into your water bin?

  • Measuring cups & bowls

  • Pipette

  • Medicine dropper

  • Fruit juicer

  • Spray bottle

  • Squirt bottle

  • Strainer

  • Funnel

  • Sponge

  • Paint brushes

  • Gems, Pom Poms & other loose parts

  • Plastic animals

  • Cookie cutters

  • Plastic letters or numbers

  • Nature treasures (flowers, acorns, leaves, sticks, shells)

You get to decide what is safe and manageable in your home. Always monitor your children in or around water.


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