My boys were water babies. They both loved the water and spent hours either in pools or at the lake. We spent many week-ends at the family cabin enjoying the sun and water. For them, it didn’t matter if the water was cold or not. Water temperature did matter for me, so I spent many early-spring hours on the beach, wrapped in a blanket, while they played in the water. Last week-end, we spent an afternoon at that same cabin with our grandson, who is also a water baby. He loves playing in the water (although he does draw the line at getting water in his face – but that’s another story).
Why the stroll down the watery memory lane? I came across an article which said that according to studies done, babies who were allowed to splash around in a pool when they were two to seven months old develop better motor skills – and keep them. These children have better eye-hand coordination and better balance in kindergarten than those who had not. My kids did not swim at such a young age, but my daughter-in-law took our grandson to swimming lessons when he was just a few months old. The study also showed that babies who swam at an early age establish a strong relationship with their parents.
As the weather warms up (finally!), children are spending time outdoors playing with water, either at the lake or in their back yards. What we once thought was simply child’s play, water play has turned out to be a great benefit to children. Playing in and with water helps a child develop his or her gross motor skills because they are learning about floating and sinking as they fill containers and float objects on the water. They begin to grasp math concepts as they pour different amounts of water into pails. Water play also encourages creativity as children use their imagination to create their water-worlds.
Eye/hand coordination is also developed through pouring, squeezing, stirring, and squirting. Their motor skills are strengthened by running and hopping through sprinkler and dodging water drops. Playing in water is one of the most relaxing activities for children. Their emotions and tension are relieved as they run, pour, swim and play.
Those days of sitting on the beach, swimming and playing with our kids are some of the best memories I have of their childhood. It is great to have the chance to do it all over again with our grandson. We thought we were just out having fun in the water. Who knew that there were so many benefits to being at the beach?