28 Exploring Water with Young Children
Asyou transition children to choice time, focus the children going to
the water table and water center on their new exploration by saying
something such as the following:
• Ican’t wait to find out what the water does when you use the funnels and
Use tubing, funnels, and various containers to explore water during
choice times, until all interested children have participated.
Observe and document children’s water explorations.
Spend a few minutes observing children as they engage in water play.
Make sketches or take photos of how children use the materials. Use
an observation record form to note what children are doing and what
they are noticing. Observe the following:
• What are they noticing as they fill and empty containers? The
weight of the water? The way it spills over the top?
• What are they doing with the tubes? How are they filling them
• How are they using the funnel?
• How arethey combining the materials?
• What kinds of play are children engaged in?
–Exploratory: trying out the materials to see what they do
–Dramatic: using the materials as part of a dramatic play scenario
such as “gas station”
–Constructive: using the materials to build something, such as a
fountain (For example, are the children using the materials to
invent a game to see how fast they can empty a tub?)
Use these notes to facilitate the upcoming science talk.
Acknowledge children’s exploration.
Children who areactively exploring water should be left to play.
However, as you observe children’s exploration, you can support their
work by acknowledging them with a smile, or taking a photograph of
them as they work. You might also spend a few minutes modeling
water play by exploring water yourself. As you do so, children are
likely to join you or invite you into their play.
Some children appreciate when adults acknowledge their work with a
comment or a conversation. When children ask if you would like to
drink some of their secret lemonade, for example, ask how they made
it. Or, if children want to show you something they are doing, ask
them to tell you about it.
Teacher note: I decided to write
on my calendar specific times
when I would observe children’s
water explorations. This kind of
planning also helped my assistant
know when she would have to be
Issue:I’m not a very good artist. Why
should I sketch what the children are
Response:Taking the time to sketch
children’s water systems is a way of
acknowledging the importance of
what children are doing. Another pur-
pose is to provide an outline of the
materials so that children can show
you how water has moved through
the materials. Simple line drawings of
funnels (triangles) and tubes (lines)
can be a good starting point for a dis-
cussion about water flow.
Teacher note: If I hadn’t spent
time watching the children ex-
ploreI never would have noticed
their fascination with trying to fill
containers up to the very top