While there are tables specially made for water play, any big container will work such as a bin or big bowl. Water play is very much a sensory activity, stimulating the senses of touch, hearing, seeing, and, with kids, sometimes tasting. Some kids do not even mind soap bubbles!
Some of the things that kids learn are:
- Water pours down, unless we squeeze or squirt it in other directions.
- Water doesn’t have its own shape, instead it takes the shape of containers.
- Water can freeze or pour.
- It takes several small containers of waters to fill a big one, and a big one fills a little container and then overflows.
- If a container has holes, the water comes out.
- Some things float in the water and some sink.
Kids like to explore what floats or sinks with items such as plastic bottle caps, jar lids, wooden blocks, popsicle sticks, cups, small bottles, clean rocks and more. Often, kids put things inside another container and watch the container getting lower and lower until water spills over the edge and it all sinks.
Play is an early form of science. As children pour, dip, splash, and stir, they are carefully watching what happens–this is observation. They do the same actions over and over again–testing. They remember the results of their actions and make their own “theories” such as flat things float but then they try something flat that sinks and so they play some more–experimenting.When we ask questions about what they are doing, kids will share their discoveries. In science, that’s called reporting.
And all this is child’s play. Do you agree water play is a good fun and learning activity for outside in the summer?