Everyone knows that playing in water is fun! Splashing in sinks, bath tubs and buckets can provide endless entertainment indoors. But water play also provides an opportunity for scientific exploration and discovery. You can take the water play, mess and learning outdoors. An outdoor preschool water table is perfect for scientific observation of the physical characteristics of matter. It is an opportunity to learn first-hand about liquids and solids (without all of the indoor water mess).
The young scientist can experiment with different objects to determine which objects float and which objects sink in the water table. The children can make a game of predicting if they think an object will sink or float and then document their findings. The children can create drawings, charts or graphs to share with their fellow scientists.
When you mix water play and the outdoors, children gain a natural sense of the forces of nature by watching the effects of blowing wind on the water or increase in water temperature as the sun warms the water.
During mild weather, put ice cubes in the water table and allow the children to observe the change in physical properties from a solid to liquid. Try this on a sunny day, and then on a cloudy day, record how long it takes to melt. Is there a difference? Why? During the winter, fill the table with snow, what happens? Why?
Another experiment is to make predictions of what will happen when different substances (salt, sugar, flour, etc.) are mixed into the water. Like all good scientific exploration–predict, observe, discuss, and document.
Understanding the physical environment and communication of observations and discoveries are important elements of the science content areas of the states’ Early Learning Standards. Take the Early Learning Standards outdoors with The Adventurous Child’s Water Table and many other outdoor play products.