Children are naturally drawn to water play. Like moths to a light, they just can't help themselves. If water is there then it has to be explored.
Free play with water is a fantastic way for children to learn the foundations to many scientific theories in a way that has meaning and context for them. The same has to be said about the mathematical learning opportunities as well.
Basic Physics such as motion and mathematical concepts such as volume and measurement.
Time and space to explore and test ideas is a vital part of Scientific investigation. Repeating a process to see if the results stay the same. Adding additional factors to see if the results change.
Our job as childcare practitioners is to facilitate this learning through the provision of resources. Most of which can be found for free. A bucket of water and pots from the recycling bin is all that is needed.
The tricky bit for us is making sure we make the most of this exploration with well thought out prompting and questioning. Encouraging the children to make predictions. Offering new language to extend their learning. We can help children develop their thinking with observation and questioning.
Today's water play was very much based around the concept of capacity. Using different sized pots to scoop and transfer water and working out which pots were of a similar size so that they did not overflow.
Exploring how many of these small scoops fit in to this big jug?
This bottle is a different shape to this one but they hold the same amount of water...... how can this be?
Developing mathematical language such as full and empty, more and less, heavier and lighter is just one area of learning that water play offers in abundance. Not to mention the discussions around the shapes and size of the bottles and pots used. Adding numbers evenly spaced along a bottle can give a numerical reference to water play and a way for children to compare quantity as they transfer water from one to another.
Today's play, meets the following EYFS Prime and specific areas: