Dr. Rebecca Palacios: Learning Through Water Play

07/04/2012 12:12
Dr. Rebecca Palacios: Learning Through Water Play

Excerpts below -the full article can be read from the link above   

Water fascinates young children. Whether the water is in small or large quantities, however, it is always important to think about safety when water is involved and to ensure that young children are properly supervised. With this in mind, let’s talk about water play.

…….As with many science topics, there are some wonderful children’s books about water; one of my favorites is Water’s Way by Lisa Westberg Peters. Share this book with your child to help develop his or her understanding about evaporation, condensation, erosion, and how water flows — through text and pictures that are designed for a young child’s reading level.

Place a small amount of water in a plastic bowl. Give your child a thick paintbrush and have him “paint” with water on a sidewalk at a park or on the concrete slab in your backyard. Talk about the         

his or her disappearing pictures or letters, which is a great lesson 
about evaporation!

Buy an eggbeater or hand mixer at the dollar store. Have your child play with bubbles not just by blowing bubbles, but also by placing dish detergent in a large bin and using the beater to make lots and lots of bubbles, This will also promote hand coordination practice for your child!

Place ice cubes on a napkin and have your child watch the ice melt. Have him or her hold the cube for a minute or so and discuss how his or her warm hand makes the ice melt faster.

During bath time, talk about sponges and how they absorb water. Compare and contrast the sponge with the soap and how it does not absorb water. Compare whether they both can float. Try floating and sinking other objects. Ask questions about why they think this happens and how weight and shape make a difference.

Remember, you don’t have to be a science teacher to teach concepts like these to young children. All you have to do, really, is create or put them in an environment with interesting things to explore and objects to explore with, and then be as curious and interested in what they see, hear, touch and do as they are. Meanwhile, you will be planting seeds of understanding about physical science concepts that children will formally encounter in school before too long.

Tess Michaels