Babies get excited with items that float. Warner says, "As your baby begins to understand how the world works, you can help her begin to classify items according to similar properties. At this age she'll think these differences and similarities are magical, but soon she'll learn they can all be explained scientifically." Here are some suggestions:
Games and Activites
Ice Is Nice: Ice is a new toy. Freeze water in different kinds of containers to make a variety of ice shapes. Then sit your little one on the floor with a plastic basin in front of her. Unmold the ice and place the shapes into the basin. Encourage your child to play with the ice shapes. Wearing gloves or mittens will protect your child's hands from the extreme cold. As a variation, place these ice shapes into water and see what happens.
Recycle Foam Produce Trays: Entice your baby or toddler with a new water toy. Cut shapes—squares, circles, and triangles—from clean foam produce trays. Place these shapes in a basin of water and invite your little one to play with them. She can dunk them underwater and watch the shapes float to the surface. Any type of water play is an excellent cause and effect activity and will fascinate your youngster as she plays.
Do You Know Which Ball Keeps Popping Up? Add ping-pong balls for lots of fun. Your child can try to keep the balls under the water—but they always "pop" up! For added fun, draw faces on the balls using a waterproof marker. Give your baby a few toys that will sink—see which ones he reaches for and which bring a little giggle of laughter.
Baby Bathes: Let your baby give the bath for once! Playing with dolls helps young children imitate adult actions, which is an important way that they learn. Show your little one how to bathe a plastic baby doll the same way you bathe her. And what about doing the dishes? Young children love to do big people things. Bring out the plastic dishes and let your toddler enjoy dishwashing. Provide her with washcloths, sponges, and towels as cleaning tools and for drying.
Just a Little Squirt: To increase your baby's finger dexterity, bring out squirt bottles. Squeezing bottles of water offers a fun play experience. The drawback is guiding your child to squeeze the water into the basin (for the safest results, water squeeze play may be best outdoors). And don't forget little ones love to "paint" with water. Give your child a paintbrush and basin of water to paint the pavement, fence, and outdoor furniture.
So, don't be afraid of water play—at times you may get wet, but just think how this tool can increase your child's living-learning experiences and there is no right or wrong way to do it. And for parents, there is no scrubbing afterwards to get off messy paints and crayon marks!