One of my favorite things to do this summer has been watching my son’s fascination with one of our most basic elements, water. This kid has had a bath every night since it was born (essential in our sleep routine) but seeing water move in these new ways outdoors was amazing!
Over a few weeks I knew this had to be a post because my teacher brain was on excitement overload. Having water play in early childhood classrooms is essential, seeing water play on a larger outdoor scale was incredible! We know children learn through play, but can you always figure out what they’re leaning?
First time at the splash pad was a lot of watching from the sidelines. He studied the ground, where the water was coming from, the height of the fountain, and how it moved. He noticed sounds were louder the closer that he walked. And while tons of water is jumping into the air making a great pool in the middle, this little guy followed a tiny stream that ran down the concrete path.
The more we went the more he started to interact with the water. He tried capturing the squirting water in a fist. He jumped back surprised when touching the sprout splashed in his face. And in the day the fountain wasn’t working at full force, he copied a bigger kid using their foot to cover another hole to increase pressure.
Ok so you see my excitement right?!? No? Let me break it down with my teacher/mommy eyes:
- Exploring the physical properties of water- what does it feel like, the sensory exploration of what “wet” means, what is the temperature, etc.
- Exploring how water moves-how does it go up in the air, why does it go back down, where does the little stream go, what is the speed water moves, etc.
- Questioning and problem solving-how can I capture the water, why can’t I hold it, what happens if my toe covers the hole, why is my face covered in water, etc.
See what I see? The beauty of water play is that there are huge STEM early concepts being explored naturally. No lesson plans, no designated standards to cover, just a happy kid playing! Kids are always learning in play, it just takes more of a teacher/mommy lens to really see what these amazing kids are doing!