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 birth (essential in our sleep routine), but experiencing water in new ways outdoors was amazing!
After the last 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 learning?
His first time at the splash pad was a lot of sidelines watching. 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 he walked. And while tons of water was 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 to the splash pad, the more he interacted 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 increase pressure by covering another hole.
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.
Do you see what I see? The beauty of water play is that huge STEM early concepts are being explored naturally. No lesson plans, no designated standards to cover, just a happy kid playing!