Water play with toddlers – Six Benefits

Water play with toddlers – Six Benefits



Most kids you come across will love or at least enjoy interacting with water. It is a great way for them to pass long summer days to keep cool and out of mischief. They can enjoy it also to clean up after supper and unwind before bedtime. It feels and looks amazing. Your child can float toys on the surface of the water or sink them. Add bubbles and they can hide underneath to feel invisible. It does amazing things for the growth of their little minds.

The possibilities are endless when your child plays with water or in it. Water play with toddlers benefits include nurturing their growth of hand eye coordination, curiosity, abilities to find solutions to challenges, expansion of vocabulary, social and emotional abilities and lessons for math and science. Be sure to include yourself in their water time by joining in the fun. Let go, relax, go ahead and get wet. They are only small for a short time and before you know it they will be grown up. Do not miss out on nurturing their hand eye coordination growth.


Growth of fine motor abilities

fine motor skills
When your child plays with water and in it they will grow fine motor abilities such as hand eye coordination by actions and movements they make. This could be by;

  • pouring water onto an object or body part,
  • squirting water out of a squishy toy,
  • slapping the water,
  • kicking the water,
  • jumping in the water slowly or fast (be certain to always be present, observe and if required assist your child),
  • stirring the water
  • and many other motions.

All of these activities help your child grow and gain command over these necessary skills. It will also build their self confidence. One other benefit is your child can be sitting and playing even if they still are not yet walking. Always keep vigilant when your child is playing with or in the water for their safety in the bath tub. Water also feels amazing which adds to your child’s enjoyment of it.


Enjoyment of feeling the water

hand in water feeling
First time a child experiences water their reactions can and will vary. After they have come to be comfortable in it they may grow to enjoy it. Children are much more in tune with feelings (emotional and physical) then as men. I believe it comes more naturally to them but you can get in touch with really feeling what they are feeling if you learn to slow down your mind, let go of your responsibilities and be there with your child.
This is still new to your child. They will love feeling

  • the slipperiness of the sides of the bath tub.
  • They will enjoy splashing and the feeling of it on the palms of their hands,
  • the feeling of hitting the water with the soles of their feet.
  • They will enjoy the feeling cold water gives them,
  • feeling refreshed when they are hot.
  • When they are cold they will enjoy how warm water feels.

Try to tap into their enjoyment and encourage them to learn more about water by asking questions. Does not matter how young they are, eventually it will pay off for your child in developing their ability to learn solutions to challenges they encounter.


Increases solution finding skills

When children play in water they will invariably encounter a problem of some kind.


  • It might be that a toy won’t float or it won’t sink.
  • It might be that they splash water in their eyes, nose, ears and mouth by accident.
  • It might be that they slip when trying to reach for something and almost fall out of the tub.
  • It can be anything really and your child naturally will be curious about the why of it and how to solve it. You can assist them in figuring out the problem by demonstrating, asking questions and warning them to be careful.


Your children will learn from these experiences the following;


  • When your child plays with a toy boat he will see that it floats as long as it is not submerged. If he does he will learn that it will sink to the bottom.
  • If your child splashes water in her eye by accident she will know not to splash towards herself again as the water will come back up into her eye.
  • Leaning on an edge can lead them to slip and hurt themselves.
  • It’s this natural observation that teaches your child to think creativity. By playing and learning at bath time your child will be laying a foundation for finding solutions to problems they encounter on their own. Be there for your child to teach her to be patient, ask him questions (you ask the questions until they are old enough to do so), find the answer together and solo. All this interaction will naturally lead to their vocabulary increasing.


Water time leads to greater vocabulary

When playing with your child they will learn new words. Words they have already heard of previously will be reinforced when hearing them again. So what are you doing as a parent while your child plays?

  • Are you pointing to the different objects and naming them?
  • Are you saying things like Johnny is a big boy sitting in his bath tub?
  • Are you asking what is this object, what do you call it, what sound does it make and what color is this?
  • Asking questions expositions your child to new words, enough exposure and time will lead them to learning the meaning and usage of the words.

Have fun with them, relax and let it flow naturally. These experiences will be strengthening your child’s memory abilities to learning new things, whether it be new words or solving problems as we discussed previously. In addition to these amazing achievements for your little one, you both will deepen your parental-child bond you feel for each other because of these experiences.


Social and Emotional abilities

social and emotional skills
The opportunities to learn social interaction with others and emotional growth in bath time are endless.

  • By including other children in bath time the opportunity for the need to learn to work together and share toys is presented. Everyone needs a turn.
  • These are important lessons to not only be taught in kindergarten but also in your home by you.
  • You can teach respect when your child reacts poorly when he does not get his way.
  • You can teach patience when she asks for a toy you are using and does not want to wait any longer.
  • Your child can learn to role-play with others an important skill they will need to play and work
  • with other children when they start school.


Bath time is opportunity to learn basic math and science


math and science
Your child can learn basics of math:

  • When you teach and ask questions about math concepts such as empty, full, more, less and half.
  • Which bucket is full?
  • Which is less full?



Your child can basics of science: science

  • When you teach and ask questions about which item will float or sink (boat or rock).
  • While water is running in the tub place a large object in the center of its flow and direct your child’s attention to the changes this creates.
  • Hand toys to your child and have them place in the tub to see which will float and which will sink.


Bath time allows you the opportunity to teach both basic concepts of math and science.



duck bathtub

If you do not already have a bath tub I recommend you check out the following baby bath tub.

  • Please click on the words “Bath tub” to check out and buy this product, 
  • Bath tub is stable, it allows your child to sit up, play and interact with the tub and toys.
  • It is very durable and solid.
  • I have a similar one which only difference I can tell is the feature of telling the tub telling you if the water is too hot. The one I am recommending to you has this feature which is would have been nice to have.

Both my children used the one we currently have so its been at least 3 to 4 years. I am pleased it has lasted this long and given my kids so much happiness and joy. You will have to hurry though as the manufacture I see has discontinued production of this product. So when they are gone, they are gone forever.




Bath time is another opportunity for your child to grow and learn new skills whether they be hand eye abilities, identifying and finding solutions to challenges, increasing their vocabulary, social and emotional growth and learning basics of math and science. Be sure to involve yourself in their activities, cool off and have fun. These days will be over sooner than you realize and you may end up wishing you took more advantage of the opportunities while they were present.



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8 thoughts on “Water play with toddlers – Six Benefits”

  • Hello,
    It is interesting how from such a small topic you have managed to write a full article. Children love playing with the water. I remember when I was little my mother would put me and my sister to the bathtube and when she wanted us out, we kept saying “noooo, please we want to stay a little longer”, even that the skin of our hands was in bad condition. Children love this kind of play

    • Hello,

      Thanks for commenting!

      Kids I have seen sure do love water. 

      Water supports life. It is fun to play with. Swimming uses the many muscles in the body so it’s great for getting exercise and tiring yourself out. Makes for a great sleep for both kids and adults.

      Thanks again for leaving a comment.


  • Very interesting article, my son hates water so it makes bath time, swimming, and even the beach very interesting. I’m hoping one day he develops at least a tolenrence of water because I really want to start swimming lessons with him soon, he is 3 so I’m hoping soon he may start to undertstand a be a bit more reasonable soon, but who knows!

    • Hello Hannah,

      I am sorry you son does not enjoy water and the frustration you must be feeling.

      I did some research online for solutions to your sons dislike with water and found somethings that might help ease him into enjoying water.

      You may want to look up on Amazon a bath visor. if you look up the words “Rinse Cup For Baby Child Wash Hair Eye Shield Shampoo” and it should show you a tool you can use that will be easier to control the flow of water over your sons head. It is designed to keep water out of children’s eyes.

      Include blow sticks or bracelets during bath time, look up the words “Lumistick ULTRABRIGHT 300 Count 8” Light-Up Premium GlowSticks/Bracelets – Longest Lasting Glow Sticks – Comes With Bracelet Connectors – Perfect for Birthdays, Parties, Halloween & More!“. You could dim the lights so he can enjoy them and maybe it will distract him until he becomes more comfortable.

      You could try giving him a sponge bath in the sink (no water in bottom for few weeks).

      Then transition to empty bath tub instead of sink.

      After few days try to transition to sponge bath in bath tub with minimum amount of water in bottom.

      The point is to gradually get him used to being in water and maybe what we consider a normal bath is to much for him at this time.

      If you find he is enjoying sponge baths work please do not get frustrated with him. I understand as a parent how we want or expect our children to develop at certain speeds. Each child is different and will develop at their own pace. I wrote a post on potty training which may be similar to what your son is dealing with regarding bathing. Maybe you may find it helpful.

      You can read about it here if you like: “https://betterdaddyblog.siterubix.com/six-potty-training-tips-for-toddlers”.

      I also learned that it may be helpful to change up the time of day you bath him. Maybe he will be more receptive at a different time of day to a bath.

      Also you could try incorporating his favorite toys into bath time with small bottles for your son to wash his toys hair (even plastic hair).

      Add some food coloring to the bath and coordinate it with toys (ex. blue water with sea animals). Try typing into Amazon “bath color tablets”. I found these color tablets you drop in that color the water. Below the listing Amazon recommended other items your son may enjoy, like fishing with a net, alphabet letters and a bag.

      I also saw art time items you could offer your son like crayola fingerpaint soap and coloring bath safe crayons.

      Maybe your son is uncomfortable with water in his eyes, you could purchase goggles for him.

      I only include this since I found it was recommended but maybe he would be more comfortable having showers over a bath. Does not sound like it to me but just want to put it out there as an option for you to consider.

      Hopefully you and your son find something from here that will help him transition into learning to enjoy water and bath time.

      Please feel free to ask any questions you may have. Or if you have comments I would love to hear them and will get back as soon as I can.


  • I know that playing in water is very enjoyable for kids. When I was a kid I was barely waiting to enter the full bath. We should not forbid our kids to play in the water but also we should not live them alone even for second. My sister have toddler and I will for sure send her this article. Very interesting information!

    • Hello Daniel,

      Glad you found this interesting. Thanks for commenting.

      Yes we can never leave our children alone with water for a second. Too many bad stories have occured when a parent leaves their child for a second.

      take care,


  • Thanks for this great review on water play with toddlers.  You are right of course, both of my children and almost all of my friends kids loved water and water play. At bath time adding bubbles to the bath made the kids have a MOUNTAIN of fun and really relaxed them before bedtime.  I really like the thought that they felt “invisible” (thanks for the suggestion).  I agree that bath time really is a great time to bond with your child, have a lot of fun and explore new opportunities through different bath toys and water play toys. I was just wondering what your favourite toys are for children aged 4-6 years old?

    • Hello Glenys,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I can only comment on toys for girls since my daughter just passed that age range. She likes to play lots with her barbies, Toy beach combs and other plastic toys when having a bath. Really depends on the child and what they like. You could also buy water based paints that they could draw on the sides of the bath tub or tilled shower walls and floor. Would be great fun for them and allow for artistic expression.

      Have a great one,

      Proud papa of two,


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