Get Your Wellies On!
adapted from ‘Playing for Keeps’
see Scottish Water website education section.
To help young children understand the properties of water and the water cycle through active role play, and promote physical activity and expression. This can be done indoors but is more meaningful outside, where observation of rain and larger scale water play is possible.
Did you know?
Water goes round in a circle between the sea, air and the ground. This is called the Water Cycle.
The water cycle means that we are drinking the same water today that the dinosaurs drank millions of years ago!
Before the activity
Observe water in day-to-day play. Outdoors, provide flexible water play resources such as guttering (attach to fences), pipes, tubs, watering cans, plant mist sprayers, pots and pans, and things that float or sink. An outdoor tap is very useful. Watch what happens to ice cubes. Paint temporary water pictures with brushes on the tarmac – where does the water disappear to? Watch how it evaporates more quickly in the sun. Use tubs containing sand, sticks, plasticine, rocks and water to develop landscapes with rivers and seas. If these are kept on trolleys they can be wheeled indoors and out. Using watering cans, or observing real rain, watch water flow down the ‘mountains’ of sand when it rains. Where does it go? Watch how it flows around obstacles like pebbles in its way, and travels downwards, to meet the ‘sea’.
Use plastic bottles as rain gauges to catch the rain outside.
If you have a pond, sink or water barrel outside for wildlife, look at what lives there. You may need to top up this water in hot sunny weather – why? Where does this water go?
Look at images of water – rivers, ponds, lochs, sea, and read stories and poems with a watery theme.
This group activity starts with the children in a circle – the calm before the storm. The activity is teacher led with the sound of raindrops moving round the circle – initially single taps on the floor – single raindrops. The sound and tapping activity develops around the circle building to a crescendo – increasing the tapping on the floor or moving to tapping tummies. Once the noise level of the rainstorm has developed, the storm drifts away, the noise level decreases and the raindrops slowly stop.
You can sing along to this, and add your own sounds, to the tune of ‘Frere Jacques’
|(LOUD)||I hear thunder, I hear thunder (crashing sounds)|
|Hark don’t you? Hark don’t you? (pretend to listen)|
|(Soft)||Pitter patter raindrops, pitter patter raindrops (gentle tapping sounds)
I’m soaked through
|(LOUD)||So are you!|
After the outdoor play discoveries, the children can act out the stages of the water cycle. (props and musical instruments can add to the fun – rain shakers for example and streamers or long blue strips of material they can wave as they run as the ‘drops’ build into flows of water.)
The approach of the rain- children become raindrops, splashing up or sinking into the ground.
The storm approaches - the slow ‘raindrops’ become more frenetic
The raindrops fall into small streams, moving quickly around the space.
(Some children can become crouching rocks within the river which the other children can move around - see what water does when there are obstructions in the way – water children need to moving over/go between/swirl around the rock children).
The streams join together into larger rivers, the children have to link up - becoming slower and flow in a winding patter around their space.
The big river flows into the sea - all the children are linked up as one big river that flows finally into the sea.
Once in the sea, the water evaporates back into the sky - children become separated and scattered. (Run around with a plant mist sprayer so they can run among the droplets)
Develop ‘pitter patter’ pictures. Children paint sheets of paper or material. These are pegged up outside – ideally where the children can observe them easily. When it rains the water helps create its own patterns and images.
The water cycle and other activities are illustrated in worksheets and interactive games from the Scottish Water website Education section