Gwen (17 months) has always showed an interest in water play. I usually set up a quick water pouring activity in the bath tub and let her scoop, pour and mix to her heart's delight right before bathtime. To extend the fun and sensory experience, I typically add a teeny weeny bit of food colouring to the water.
I add just a few drops of food colouring to a huge amount of water so the colour is too diluted to stain Gwen's skin. For colouring, I use Watkins Food Colouring, derived from pure vegetable juices and spices with no artificial color additives, so that gives me greater ease of mind. I understand parents may still be wary about use of food colouring in play, so you do you! :)
On one occasion, I opened my fridge, spotted a cow's milk carton and thought,
Why not add milk to the water? A milk bath play sounds fun.
That very afternoon, we tried it and pouring stations are never the same again. Gwen played for a grand total of 1 hour and 15 minutes, till her little fingers looked pruny like raisins!
1 hour 15 minutes! That should go into a Guinness book of records for holding a young toddler's attention!
Value Add of Milk to Water Play
It occurred to me that Gwen had never touched or explored water that wasn't clear or translucent. When milk was added, it turned the water white and opaque instantly. When she dipped her hands into the cloudy water, she couldn't see them. When she threw objects into the milky water, they sank and disappeared from sight. It was all very new, different and exciting to her.
Milky water also made for the perfect game of hide and seek. I removed my ring and dropped it into the cloudy water for her to grope around and find, and she enjoyed this game very much.
It's extraordinary how a common, ordinary ingredient like milk could be such a game-changer for a water pouring station activity.
Sometimes, I also throw little wild flowers Gwen picks on outdoor strolls into the milky water so she can swirl them around, prod them, and watch them float to the water surface again and again.
For little ones with cow's milk allergies, I would recommend substituting with another form of dairy milk (goat's milk, perhaps?) or non-dairy milk (almond milk, soy milk or cashewnut milk) which your child is okay with. This is because your child may accidentally consume a bit of the milk or water during play, so it's better to err on the safe side of things!
To follow Gwen's play adventures, check out @miraculove_sg (Instagram) or A Toddler Activity A Day Facebook Group.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.