The Magic of Puddles — Why Waterplay Puddles Matter

Guest Post By: Dr. Beverlie Dietze.

With a shared commitment to connect the world through play, we are excited to present to you the following guest post by Dr. Beverlie Dietze, an internationally-known author, researcher and expert in the field of early childhood education and outdoor play.

Puddle 3 NEW - High Contrast - no fern

It’s Not just a Puddle to Splash in …

Adults may view puddles as a place where children stomp their feet, splash, giggle, and of course get wet. However, for children, a puddle is more than just a puddle – it is a learning lab for exploration and discovery!

Puddles ignite a child’s natural curiousity. As outlined in Figure 1.1 below, puddles attract children to explore, experiment, discover and create new knowledge.

Child Development Cycle - vr2.jpg

A Puddle for Learning & Splashing!

From a developmental perspective, Waterplay’s Puddles offer one of the richest play experiences that contribute to brain development in children.

Initially, Puddles provide children a place to:

  • Figure out what they can do,
  • What they can see,
  • And, how they can change the water flows

As they experiment more intensively with the features of the Puddle through observation and using their bodies to touch, step, and jump, they learn that certain movements influence the height and width of the splashes. Such discoveries lead to the advancement of problem-solving and critical thinking skills through more extensive exploration.

The features inherent in Waterplay’s Puddle system, also provide a chance for children to:

  • Collect, process, and interpret information about their environment,
  • Learn about how their body actions can manipulate the water flow,
  • And, gain insight into the consequences of using their bodies in different ways on the Puddle pad and with the water flow.

Through their play with the Puddles, children gain foundational skills related to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) principles, which in turn are necessary for later academic skills.

Essentially, the bigger the Puddle pads and the more Puddle sprays to experiment with, the more investigative options available for exploration.

As illustrated in Figure 1.2 below, Waterplay’s Puddle ground spray affords children the ability to experiment with varying types of play and inquiry that in turn, leads to new knowledge creation.

Children exploring puddles collage - vr-2.jpg

These discoveries may include:

  • The harder the jump, the higher the splash,
  • The higher the splash, the wider the water sprays,
  • The more concentrated the water, the more opportunities to make waves, see shadows and rainbows,
  • The more gentle the splash, the lighter the water feels on one’s body,
  • The lighter the splash, the more prominent the rain drops,
  • The softer the jump, the more water that gathers on the perimeter of the Puddle,
  • The more water that gathers on the perimeter, the more patterns, shadows, reflections, and waves that can be observed and manipulated,
  • When feet or hands block some of the water flow, the higher the incidence of predicting what will happen in those spots,
  • When fingers are used in different ways at the water source, the more that is learned about how to control water flows and how hand movements influence the amount of water that flows,
  • The more experimentation that is done with the water flow, the deeper the thinking, the more ideas that are formed, and the more creative thought that evolves,
  • The more testing that takes place, the more theorizing that is developed,
  • The more time spent exploring what can be done with the water spray, the more in-depth concentration skills and attention span developed,
  • The more experience with the water system, the more knowledge developed about cause and effect properties of water is developed.

The Magic of the Puddle Ground Spray

In addition to STEM principles, the Waterplay Puddle ground spray offers an opportunity for children to learn new vocabulary and rhythm necessary for phonemic awareness skills, while also strengthening their self-regulation abilities.

Through play, the Puddle ground spray assists children with the development of skills and knowledge in:

  • Physics (flow, motion)
  • Chemistry (solutions, cohesion)
  • Mathematics (measurement, equivalence, volume)
  • Engineering (how things work, compare, solutions)

Essentially, Waterplay’s Puddle ground spray collection provides children with play experiences that, ultimately, contribute to the social, cognitive and physical skills listed below in Figure 1.3.

What is learnt thorugh play - vr2.jpg


Want to Learn More about Waterplay’s Puddles? View Full Product Details



Dr. Beverlie Dietze

Dr. Beverlie Dietze, is the Director of Learning and Applied Research at Okanagan College, Kelowna, British Columbia. She is involved in research with non-profit organizations and industry, including Waterplay, related to children’s play, child development, and learning.

In addition to her position at Okanagan College, Beverlie is an internationally-known expert and has written and co-authored seven books on early childhood education and outdoor play. She is also, the lead researcher for a national and local research project that is examining strategies to advance children’s outdoor play through training and space design.


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