Monday, November 29

Water Play Indoors

I know I've posted pictures before of water play indoors but thought I would show how it is set up for this winter in our home. I know there is some debate over the use of sand tables and water tables (at least on the Waldorf side) being used indoors. Some believe sand and water should be kept outside in a natural setting, allowing the child to use these elements in the most organic way. Others support the use of indoor sand and water tables because of the sensory experience it provides. For us, when the winter months come and it is minus or single digits or we are too sick to get out, we do enjoy sand and water inside. We don't substitute the sand and water that we have inside for time outside digging, building and playing but we do enhance our sensory experiences in the winter with the use of sand and water tubs.



This is our latest set up. Always a towel under the water tub and tray. The tub is filled with water (about half) and the tray (which really is anything big enough to hold the containers and utensils) sits next to it.



The waterproof apron comes from Montessori Services and is very helpful for keeping clothes dry.



An ice cube tray holds pieces of a sponge. The pieces float around the water tub or can be squeezed with hands or a garlic press.




A variety of containers all different sizes allow experimentation with volume and size. One container has a cap for shaking and "making bubbles."





Funnels are used with the containers. I've seen my daughters put the sponges in the funnels to absorb the water poured in and sometimes they just use the funnels.



My daughters ask for soap sometimes to play with bubbles. More bubbles can be made with the whisk or by sponge squeezing.




Transferring water utensils.



Everything is stored in this box. I try to let things air dry before putting on the lid but the drilled holes in the lid allow for the materials to continue drying.



Water is a great sensory experience. It also tends to calm and relax- I love to watch the concentration as they pour and play in the water. A younger child may be overwhelmed at first with all of these options and could benefit from introducing one or two at a time.

9 comments:

Kate said...

I love your set-up! What age kid do you think this appeals to most? Or, what additional tools or tasks would you suggest to make water play appealing for older kids?

about a girl said...

Very cool and brave of you!

My Child's Diary said...

Hi Amy!
I hope it is alright with you if I asked if you stopped practicing classic Montessori activities with your daughters? You haven't posted for quite a long time about your Montessori classroom. I am too hesitating about presenting water activities (pouring, funnel, sponges, whisk etc.) for quite a long too, as my son enjoys experimenting with water so much, that I don't want to interfere his inner voice. It seams to me that you are much more into applying Montessori philosophy lately, if I may say so, but using it in a bit of unschooling/Waldorf stream. It is very close to my heart too right now, so your impressions and experience here will be highly appreciated. Thank you!

The Education Of Ours said...

Lovely! I (a Waldorf/Reggio/Montessorian) think sand play is very important, and if water play soothes- than it's for you! The joy in this is that you can make it fit for your family :)

Elle Belles Bows said...

Thanks for the tip about the waterproof apron. We do a great deal of water play and that would be helpful. Kerri

Amy said...

Kate- I would say age two and up. A child even younger than 2 would love it but I would be sure to sit next to them as they play. Providing less containers and utensils than shown with my youngest (just barely 3 now) would be easier for a younger child too. My Child's Diary- Yes, things have changed for us in the past year as I am sure many people have noticed we don't do many of the formal Montessori activities like we used to. We have spent some time in our Montessori room but I find it hard for my oldest daughter (just turned 5) to be interested in materials. I don't want to push academics and she isn't particularly interested in them-it just seems very unnatural at this time. I know she will learn them next year when she goes to school and from the research I've read, early reading/other academics do not make a better readers or students- in fact some research indicates it lessens interest in academics when they are pushed too early. I love many aspects of montessori- practical life and sensorial for sure and I make sure we complete lessons in these areas- but I feel that the academics are not age appropriate and introduced too early-just because they can memorize and repeat something back doesn't mean they really understand it. At this time I simply try to follow my children with their interests and what really makes them happy- which tends to be more play and less structured activities. I plan to use the Montessori materials and teachings to support them when they do start school just to make sure they have that concrete foundation. Hope this helps- I am learning as I go!

Amy said...

Kate- I only answered half you question, I noticed. For older kids they might like adding the sink and float aspect. Constructing boats- tinfoil, or clay or rafts made of popsicle sticks. Sinking leaves with pebbles or having a container of things that may sink or float. I want to get a little water pump, (I think they can be found on amazon), even small pieces of plastic tubing, nets or magnets in water are fun.

Leptir said...

Wonderful ideas :-)

Heather@Cultivated Lives said...

I love the idea of all the pieces being contained in an easy to store box. We can do water play pretty much year round, but I find that my kids have fresh interest when the surroundings are changed up...