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Guest Post: Water is nature's most important raw material for purposeful play and relaxation

Guest Post: Water is nature's most important raw material for purposeful play and relaxation

Posted by Andrea Elliott on Jul 6th 2015

This post is brought to you by HABA USA and written by guest blogger Zech Mientkiewicz

Beach trips are always fun, especially for kids! As a child growing up in a Navy family, we had the luxury of always living close to a beach. Whether it was the frigid waters of Maine, or the cool southern California waves, or the warm calming Gulf coast, my family would find just about any excuse to load up into the car and spend an afternoon by the water. Sand, Frisbees, and water boards were a must, along with an explorer’s mind to seek out starfish or seashells or hermit crabs to show off to our parents. And the waves- we would spend hours running in the low surf and feeling the waves surge, recede and, maybe if you were lucky, knock you off your feet. On cooler days my siblings and I would challenge each other to see how long we could last in the water before scurrying back to the hot sand. But on warmer days, we would spend hours swimming in the relaxing waters or just floating on the surface like bobbers. Now living in upstate New York, I still find myself drawn to a calming lake with nice sand and maybe a rock to lounge on. I seek out rivers and streams to paddle on and drift down while enjoying a relaxing afternoon. Even a small puddle of water will attract young children with muddy consequences.

For centuries humans have lived, played, vacationed, and relaxed near the calming lap of water while experiencing the mild exfoliating properties of a warm sandy beach. Water holds an almost transcendent connection to us. Humans drink it, bathe in it, and some of us even sleep on it! Great artists and storytellers are transfixed by its changes from tranquil to agitated, and marvel at the colors reflected and refracted by its medium. We are surrounded by water, and 60% of ourselves is composed of it. So I feel that our connection to rivers and ocean and lakes is more than just a great spot for a vacation. It is a reflection of us.

Editor's Note: For more in depth information about the benefits of water-play, check out this wonderful article (pdf) by Carol M. Gross: Science Concepts Young Children Learn Through Water Play - Why is water such a compelling source of learning pleasure for most Carol M. Gross children? This article convincingly identifies why water play is a key science and mathematics medium that enhances young children’s learning through discovery.

About the Author

zechbriZech Mientkiewicz is a Physical Education and Health teacher in Central NY. He loves to hike, camp, exercise, and explore especially with his  wife Brianna, a former employee at HABA USA. During college, Zech led high school students on 10 day hiking trips in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. He grew up in rural Houghton, NY with his parents and 3 older siblings where they sparked his passion for wilderness adventure and teaching.