Water is one of the basic raw materials for purposeful play. Like sand, clay, and blocks, children can use water without being constrained by the one, right way to use it.
Water play promotes problem-solving and thinking skills and is particularly well suited to the development of concepts in mathematics and science. Its good for developing language, and promoting social skills.
Children find water intriguing. It seems to draw children to explore its structure and properties.
“Water play is developmentally appropriate regardless of the child’s physical condition, age, language, gender, culture, or exceptionality” (Bredeikamp 1987).
Earlier this week I set out a tray of water with various sized and shaped measuring jugs, different sized funnels, a variety of measuring spoons and a sieve.
I let my mindee play with it and stood back and observed –
So…what did we learn…?
We were able to explore some mathematical concepts –
- Thick/thin, more/less
- Deep/greater/less than
We used physical skills as small muscles got a workout as water was poured from container to container, they fitted funnels to containers and sponges were wrung dry.
We learnt new words such as “funnel” and “sieve” and “flow”.
And finally, we learnt some science as playing with water naturally leads children to ask questions such as “What does it do?” Their curiosity leads to experimentation and they learnt about the properties of liquid.
I plan to change the objects I provide with the water tray regularly so we can explore all manner of things, next on my list to explore and try are medicine droppers and squeeze bottles.