Children are mesmerized by WATER. When it comes to a clean, natural material that is universally appealing and leads to limitless play...bring on the liquid (in all its forms)!
So splash, pour, spill, squish, drizzle, wash, soak, and soar your way through sensory play.
1. An Ocean of Possibilities Inside a Spray Bottle:
A simple plastic spray bottle can unlock a vast array of playful learning experiences for children of all ages. This summer, set out a handful of these everyday materials. Watch your child’s imagination plunge into open-ended play!
Pro-Tip: Ensure the trigger is child-sized!
• Plastic or Rubber Animals
And Explore Playing with:
—Launa, Age 8
2. Arctic Ice Sensory Bin Adventures
Pro-Tip: Tupperware in the freezer works well!
Think slotted spoons, colanders, scoops, funnels, and an eye dropper.
Think rocks, gems, shells, driftwood, and coral.
And Play with:
Think orcas, polar bears, and seals.
KEEP THE CONVERSATION AFLOAT:
Questions for Caregivers to Extend the Conversation with Children:
The power of sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, social interaction, fine motor skills, and problem-solving. Paddle to the deep end to continue the discussion with your child with these prompts:
Deep vs. Shallow
Warm vs. Cold
Wet vs. Dry
Flowing vs. Obstructed
- What stories live in water?
- What do you notice, wonder, & hear when playing with water?
- How does water make you feel?
- Brainstorm on all of the things that water can do.
- What is your favorite memory involving water?
- What role does water play in our lives?
RIDE THE READING RAPIDS!
Explore a river of recommended reads on the many facets of H2O.
A Cool Drink of Water
by Barbara Kerley: Preschool–Grade 2
An international tour of water in featuring people around the world collecting, chilling, and drinking water.
by Antoinette Portis: Preschool–Grade 2
Splash along with a spunky little girl who realizes that water is everywhere, but doesn't always look or feel the same. Watch a read-along with the author HERE!
A Different Pond
by Bao Phi: K–Grade 2
Caldecott Honor: Bao's father shares with him stories of when he used to fish at another pond, back when he lived in Vietnam.
The Water Princess
by Susan Verde: K–Grade 3
A story based on the childhood of model Georgie Badiel in Burkina Faso follows a girl and her mother as they retrieve water for the family's use.
All the Water in the World
by George Ella Lyon: K–Grade 3
Faucet, well, raincloud, sea. From each of these comes water. But where does water go?
by Michael S. Bandy: K–Grade 3
"After tasting the warm, rusty water from the fountain designated for African Americans, a young boy questions why he cannot drink the cool, refreshing water from the 'Whites Only' fountain."
Young Water Protectors
by Aslan Tudor: Ages 9–12
A Story About Standing Rock: The life of young water protectors.
WAVES OF SOUND: Songs about Water
Reunite with artists from our Building Bridges Family Music Festival for splash-tastic songs exploring WATER, its inhabitants, and creations! Feel free to whistle along to aquatic-themed songs.
Building Bridges Mini Beach Reunion!
123 Andrés, Jazzy Ash, and Museum regular Aaron Nigel Smith head to THE BEACH to croon about the sand, the wind, and THE WATER in a just-released single for summer!
Venture "Beneath the Water" with Building Bridges artist Caspar Babypants and "All the Fish." Drift down a "Monkey River" to meet "Jellyfish Jones," who's feeling "Pretty Crabby."
Beneath the Water
All the Fish
Missing the weekly tunes of longtime Museum regular Mr. Ben? Check out gentle music for babies and Pre-Toddlers online:
Peace Like a River
Frosty the Snowman
Or "stream" the classics HERE!
DIVE DEEPER: Journey Beneath the Surface
Clean freshwater is an essential ingredient for a healthy human life, but 1.1 billion people lack access to water and 2.7 billion experience water scarcity at least one month a year. Explore larger issues of the global water crisis and water conservation.
For Parents & Caregivers:
Our Relationship With Water | TED Radio Hour:
We need water to live. But with rising seas and so many lacking clean water—water is in crisis and so are we.
Charity Water: For people in developing countries, clean water can change everything.
Without Water: CBS News on America's water crisis. "Water is a right."
"You can kind of go free with water. I kind of feel like water is unbreakable. Because once you put your hand in water, it keeps going." —Lois, Age 9
To Share with Children:
Project Wet: The Importance of Water Education
WonderGrove Kids: "Save Water to Help the Earth" in an animated video.
PBS Kids: Create a Water Conservation Plan: Learn water-saving tips, then create a plan to conserve water through small changes at home.