Water Play: Structured and Unstructured

Water Play (1)

Water play is always fun for kids, and often when I set out cups, bowls and utensils for water, I have some goal in mind (think: flotation or density experiments, absorption, color changing, and more).

Today, I simply wanted to see what Veronika would do with water! I set out two bowls filled with water, an empty container in the middle, and various utensils that she could use, including a ladle and measuring spoons. I then tinted one container red and the other blue, meaning if she mixed them in the middle she’d see purple.

Water Play (3)

Let the scooping begin! Giving no instructions, she quickly had a game going. Mostly, she wanted to use the measuring spoons to move water from one container to the other. She briefly remarked on the colors, but was more interested in testing out the various sizes of measuring spoon.

Water Play (6)

Whoops, don’t drink the water, cat!

Water Play (5)

When she tired of this free play about 15 minutes later, I then rearranged the set-up for an experiment with a little more direction.

Water Measure (@)

If we had one container filled with water, how many times would we have to fill various measuring instruments to transfer the water to an empty container? In this way, she learned that she could move “a little” (a teaspoon) or a lot (a baby bottle). Preschoolers can be much more precise and even take note of the liquid measurement lines, making for a great early lesson on volume.

Water Measure (1)

But then we were quickly back to unstructured play. Now, Veronika wanted to give Duplo figures a little bath in the bowls, alternating between drying them off and then pouring water on them again.

Water Play (8)


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