I ran my first Water Play workshop for Playcentre today. It went well *phew*
(Playcentre is a parent co-operative that provide early childhood education. In other words, the parents run the sessions and the management of the centre. In order to provide quality sessions we participate in the adult education (which is free!). We learn lots of stuff, from child development, creativity, positive guidance, communication etc. We can also attend workshops to learn about how we can provide science, literacy, maths, music, and tons of other topics (like waterplay) to our pre-schoolers)
The hit activity today was the “magic picture”…This is where you make a picture using white crayon on white paper. You then spray it with watered down food colouring/dye. If you provide spray bottles with the primary colours (red, blue and yellow), you can mix your own colours as you spay them on your paper to reveal the crayon drawings.
Here are a bunch of water play ideas that you could try at home.
Experiment with whirlpools, fountains, downwards flows, currents, pumps, dams, obstructions, different levels, swirling the water to make objects move. Try using piping and guttering and flow water or boats down.
Put your hands in some water. How does water sound, feel, look, move? Use warm water on cold days.
Measuring and pouring
Different size containers will give children experience with volume. Put a board across the water trough so the child can rest containers on it while pouring. Can also pour from a jug to fill several glasses. Tea parties.
Help children make musical jars by filling a row of jars with different levels of water. Have some beaters to hit the jars. Use coloured water to make the levels more obvious.
Make a Sailing Boat
Use cardboard cartons (eg top cut from a milk carton). Attach a straw and paper sail (use of bit of clay to stick it down). Blow on it to help it sail.
Wet and Dry
Add water to these things and watch changes in colour, shape, size, texture:
(Dry) Sand, sponges, paper, teatowel, flour, sawdust, disposable nappy, dried leaves.
Sinking and Floating
Collect things that float – wood, plastic bottle with lid, bark chips, cork, leaf, acorn, feather, pumice, plastic cups, sponge, ball, sawdust.
Collect things that don’t float – paper clip, nail, clay, stone, solid plastic, sand.
Things that do/don’t float – sponge, solid plastic, cups, dishes.
Try holding down something that floats, then let it go.
Can you weight down a floating object by using non-floating objects (eg wood, by using stones).
Drop balls of clay into water. (Sinks) Now make a piece of clay into a boat shape and put it in the water. (Floats)
Make potions to encourage experience with floating/ emulsions, things that dissolve and things that don’t.
Have available: clay, flour, sawdust, leaves, grass clippings, bark chips, flowers, sand, earth, powder paint, salt, oil.
Put oil and dye in bottle and shake. Watch the emulsion slowly separating again.
Add droppers filled with different coloured dye to water. Watch it disperse.
Water as Ice
Freeze: balloons filled with water, rubber gloves, ice cubes, containers with flowers/leaves, a small plastic toy frozen inside. Use hammers or wooden mallets to chip the ice away. (Put ice on a towel to stop slipping.) Use drills on big blocks of ice. Make ice in a round cake tin and hang outside – watch it drip. Place coloured rock salt on the ice and see the coloured tunnels appear in the ice.
Have a snow day
Some industries (eg fish factories) will dump a load of snow/ice to your Playcentre. Experiment with sliding, building, squirting dye.
Water in the sandpit
Children build hills, valleys, castles, roads, then add water (hose) until it all floods. Talk about floods, rivers, erosion, dams etc.
Prop hose upwards (use a pipe to feed the hose through), pile the sand around until it is covered, then get a child to turn the water on full.
Balloons filled with water and air
Insert one balloon inside another. Fill the inner balloon with water and tie. Blow air into the outer balloon and tie. Try throwing and bouncing it.
Water to drink
Small jugs for children to fill their own drinking cups at morning tea. Add straws to blow bubbles.
Make banana milkshakes. Freeze iceblocks with pieces of fruit inside. Freeze an orange then slice it cold to make fruit ices.
After the rain stand under a tree and shake the drops down. Drink the rain.
Mix: 1/4 cup good quality detergent to a litre of water. Add a little sugar to strengthen bubbles. Bubbles work best on an overcast windless day.
Make bubbles by blowing through frames such as plastic rings (eg from 6 packs), plastic lids cut into shapes, pipe cleaners, electrical wire; or by swishing the frame (eg tennis bat, fly swat) through the air.
Turn the nozzle on the hose to a fine spray and make rainbows.
Painting on wet paper
Watch the colours run with mixed paint or sprinkle dry powder paint on wet paper (use thicker quality paper).
Fill a paddling pool. Use hand held nets to catch a variety of floating objects.
Put food dye and a little detergent in a cup. Child blows through a straw until the bubbles spill over. Gently press a piece of paper over the top to make the print. (Check child knows how to blow through the straw first!)
Fingerpaint and Coloured Ice
Warm finger paint in a trough with coloured ice blocks on sticks.
Water and big muscle
Waterslides (plastic sheet or gym mat) down a slope. Use detergent and water to slide more. Or attach a garden sprinkler to the hose so children can run through it.
Make a mud patch for children to play in with dinosaurs or trucks. Or use clay and water.
Fish in tank, photos of waterfalls, cycles of water (rain clouds, floods, puddles) etc
Deserts, animals drinking, whales spouting.
Talk about the weather – clouds that bring rain. Go out in the rain.
Flowers drink water too
Put white flowers in jars of dye and water and watch the flower change colour.
Washing hands, washing hair, washing dolls clothes, washing babies (dolls), washing down sandy things eg trucks.
Bring a car to be washed. Bring a baby to be bathed. Let the children wash the outside windows. Create a car wash for the children to ride bikes through. Wash a dog.