Water in the Outdoor Classroom

Water in the Outdoor Classroom

Water is an infinitely interesting element for children to explore. Because it is naturally a part of our outdoor classroom, we wanted to know how children think about water and its many uses. We posed the following questions while they played with water.

Where does water come from?

  • Hoses, ponds, fountains, irrigation, sky, ground

  • The sea, the lakes, ponds, swamps, rain, frozen snow, condensation, our bodies

  • Hose, buckets, rain, river

  • Rain, oceans, hose, faucet

  • “Water for the ocean”

Where does it go?

  • Ground, plants, buckets!, sky, earth, everywhere

  • Into earth, flowers, to drink and play, into mud!

  • Down with gravity, up with pressure, still in containers, into the ground, into plants

  • Fits into spaces, finding new ways

  • Chalk in water - “this is chalk and it just melted”

How can we use it?

  • Watering, cleaning, chemistry, cooking, planting, playing, drink, helping people, saving lives

  • To drink, for baths, SOAK THE PARENTS, in play, to cool off, water plants, chasing water streams, splashing in puddles, create paint with chalk

  • Gardening, painting, cleaning, calming, music

  • Get others wet

  • Drink, cook, grow things, swim, boat

  • Water into spaces, unexpected use of objects

  • “We can make it grow”

  • “Have to make the plants grow”

  • Sprinkler for game of Soak the Parents

How does it change?

  • It can vibrate, change colors, shapes, ice, evaporate

  • It makes ice, it can get hot, different weather

  • Solid to liquid to gas

  • Speed

  • Volume

  • Frozen, liquid, vapor

  • Water plus dirt equals liquid mud

  • Ducks swim in the water/dirt

  • Bucket, shells, chalk turns into melting in water

How is it connected to other things?

  • It helps things grow which makes them connected

  • Dancing in water!

  • Chalk melts in water

  • Connects play with all ages

  • Life, energy, movement

  • Make paint, make mud, make soup

  • Kids all integrated together - imagined objects with plants, ducks, dirt, play

The children’s responses reveal much about their prior knowledge and their curiosity, and suggest ways in which we might engage them to learn more. With water as their medium, children can explore topics in science, math, art, movement, literacy, history, and community. Documenting a morning of water play is a powerful way to begin the process of joyful learning at our school.

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