Allow five to ten minutes during a meeting with the whole group to
discuss the ongoing open exploration.
Introduce materials that squirt water.
Introduce basters and squirt bottles during a meeting with the whole
group before choice time.
Show children a baster and invite them to share their experiences
with basters or their ideas about what they might be for.
Do the same with a squirt bottle, or wait and introduce them on an-
Tell the children that these materials have been added to the materi-
als already at the water table and the water center.
Facilitate a conversation about children’s experiences with these
materials by asking questions such as the following:
• What do you think you might do with a baster at the water table?
• How do you think basters work?
Talk with children about developing rules and safe practices for using
basters and squirtbottles, and post these rules in the water center.
Invite advanced water explorers to share their experiences.
Encourage children’s continued exploration of water flow and moti-
vate all children to participate in the exploration by focusing the
group on recent events at the water table. Provide children with con-
crete reminders—such as your sketches or photographs, or materials
from the water table—to help them recall and share their experiences
more easily. Ask questions like these:
• What did you do at the water table yesterday?
• How have you been getting water into the tubing?
• What happened when you put the funnel into the tubing?
Encourage children’s exploration during choice time until all children
Observe and document children’s exploration.
Spend a few minutes observing children as they engage in water play.
You might do any of these things:
• Make sketches or take photographs of how children use the
• Use the observation formto recordwhat children do and say.
Look for the following:
Open Exploration 31
Issue:Should I teach my children how
touse a baster?
Response:Problem solving and per-
sistence are important skills and atti-
tudes for children to develop. Don’t
jump in too soon. But if a child is be-
coming frustrated, encourage chil-
dren who have figured out how to
work with basters to help those who
haven’t. If no one knows how to use
one, show one or two children and let
them show the others.
Teacher note: Zack drew this pic-
ture and told me, “I liked to play in
the water. It went down to the
other water. I poured it in and it
went around and around. And I
stirred it and I made magic.”
Issue:The water table looks so
crowded with materials right now.
Should I put some away?
Response:Too many materials in the
water at once can be overwhelming.
But children need access to a range
of materials. Try keeping bins under
the water table for storing materials
so children have easy access to them
and so that all of the materials are
not in the water table.