I have yet to meet a child that does not gravitate to water. There is something about water that engages almost everyone. There are a few children out there that have sensory issues regarding water that may disagree but this post is geared to those who light up at the sight of water. I am working with a client right now who really loves to play with water so here are some of the ways that you can use water to target language with your child. It can be at a table with a bucket of water, at an actual water table, in the bath, in a mud puddle or at a beach or lake.
Playing with water is a great way to work on:
1) expanding knowledge of concepts: wet, dry, empty, full, hot, cold, deep, shallow
You can put a small tote/container on the kitchen floor or kitchen table. You and your child can decide if you should fill it with a lot of water to make it deep or if it should be shallow with just a little bit of water. Then you can decide if you need the water to be hot or cold. I love that you can also work on problem solving: how are you going to get the water from the sink to the container on the table. Should you use a hose, a cup, a bowl, or a strainer to transport the water?
2) Expanding vocabulary: A variety of coloured cups allows you to target colors and are so much fun for pouring and dumping. Kitchen items such as strainers, funnels, whisks make bath time a lot of fun too. Bath time is also great opportunity to work on body parts as you wash the day’s dirt away.
3) expanding use of verbs: stir, pour, dump, strain, sink, float, drop,
Imagine you are at the beach and your child can’t stay out of the water. You could target words related to the rocks he or she is searching for and collecting. Words might include: shiny, smooth, bumpy, stripy, round, oval. If they start collecting larger rocks you can target the concepts of heavy and light.
4) Making predictions: collect a variety of objects from around the house, some that will sink and some that will float. Before you drop an item into the water you could make a prediction about whether it will sink or float.
5) Pretend Play: It can be a lot of fun to turn an everyday object like a plastic bowl into a pirate ship or an aircraft carrier. Perhaps the bath tub can turn into a water rescue with a boat on fire or it can become an aquarium if you add some plastic sea animals.
Children learn when they are having fun so water activities are a natural place to help expand their language.