Kids and Water
In the months before we’re born, we swim peacefully in our amniotic sac. Born to be aquaphiles, we gravitate to water for all of our time on this planet (which happens to also be about 75% water.)
Infants sleep better after baths which seem to drain tension away from their tiny bodies. Toddlers and preschoolers delight in their baths, using them as opportunities for physics experiments. Teenagers drain their families’ hot water tanks with marathon showers, which are about much more than getting clean. And adults soak away their day’s troubles in a hot bath.
Water play finds itself sprinkled through a preschooler’s day with water tables in classrooms and “washing dishes” a favorite activity at home. Kids of all ages love to run in the sprinkler set up in the yard. The really lucky ones splash in swimming pools which feel like heaven on a hot summer afternoon.
Vacationers choose spots with water attractions: beaches, lakes, or waterfalls. Water lures us with movement, sound, power and spray.
In the everyday lives of families, water becomes a significant part of the routine this time of year. Sweaty bodies need more baths. Kids out of school have time for water play. Pools only open for a season do their land-office business in July.
And the hot weather leads to greater ingestion of water, too. Adults think it’s gross, but most kids will tell you that water drunk directly from the garden hose tastes better than the same water out of a cup. Dump in a little Kool-Aid and sugar and it’s better yet. Freeze it into Popsicles and you have sheer bliss on a hot afternoon.
Just as building a snowman is an essential winter experience for a child growing up in northern climes, summer water play is the signature event of this season. As adults, most of us fondly remember water—pools, farm ponds, lakes or oceans—when we remember our childhood summers.
If we’re really lucky, maybe we can find a child to splash around with this summer, too.