In recent sunny (and the occasional not so sunny) weeks, our cubs from the Nest and Warren have shown particular interest in sand and water. Filling, emptying, mixing, pouring, SPLASHING! Inside and outside, if there is a chance to get wet our little water magnets will scout it out! The idea that water or milk must stay in a tommee tippee is a common misconception amongst adults. What we see as a simple tool to keep our children hydrated, they see as a tool for exploration (and not just at our patience). How much water can I shake out the tippee? The more I shake the more I can splash. If I hold it upside down I can watch the water trickle out. I wonder how far I can spread my milk? These are just a few choice games our children like to play. Although we do encourage drinking from the cups, equally letting them experiment helps to connect thoughts and ideas.
Sensory experience is an integral part to children's learning and we have encouraged their interest in water and sand by using both their hands and feet to explore the environment: splashing in puddles, building sand castles, and mark-making with sticks, to name a few. This helps to make connections and create concepts about the world.
To pursue their love of all things sandy, we had a trip to Somer Valley Park. Watching our youngsters delight as they ran/crawled/shuffled towards the water fountain made me wonder how something so simple can bring so much enjoyment? The answer, I assume, is MESS. The children loved dipping their hands in the water and bending down to watch it wash over the edge, trying to catch the movement. Some added sand, feeling the different textures between their fingers. Interestingly, one child went straight to the source of the water, intrigued and fascinated to see how it worked and where it came from. As sand and water play is open-ended, the child determines the direction and path of his or her own play. Whether this is digging to Australia or simply pouring from one jug to another, this freedom clears the way for the child to build developmental concepts.
With water at our fingertips (and quite often dripping on our heads) I am excited to see what our little wonders decide to do next.