Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Smashing and Wet....Great Ways to Learn Outside!!

Ahhh summer!  We are literally outside from the moment everyone is here (or sooner) until lunch time...then repeat after naptime. The last two weeks have been incredibly hot and humid, so water play is a necessity in order to stay comfortable in such otherwise near miserable conditions. I refuse to complain because winter will be here before we know it, but let's be honest...there is only so much butt sweat a person can tolerate. (oh I know you know what I'm talking about...and if you don't you must be putting deodorant in places I haven't thought of yet).

Today, we had three exciting ways to explore and stay cool while learning.

1.  Water.
2.  Shaving Cream. 
3.  Chalk. 


We filled several buckets with water, and I added a some funnels and a bucket of PVC pipes with various connectors and caps then stepped back (sort of..... HEY! I like to play too you know!!)

Okay, so I will be honest, I helped create this awesome
two-way contraption. I have just as much fun as they
do creating these pipe mazes (that's what the kids call it)

Racing to fill seperate buckets was ALL their idea however --genius!
Then the little kids tried to figure out how it worked.  This was
great fun to watch!

Finally Dylan came to the rescue and helped them out a bit.
Look at all the coordination going on here!  Avery is two years old --look
at that brain working to do all of this at one time!  An amazing amount
of learning going on!

On the picnic table I put out a small container of shaving cream with some liquid water color squiggled on top, popsicle sticks, foam blocks and a variety of beads and sequins and spangles (sequins and spangles from http://www.discountschoolsupply.com/) and the Shaving Cream Bakery was born!

1.  Have a handwashing bucket for those that need to get the shaving cream off of themselves immediately.  I have a purple bucket that is always the hand washing bucket.
2.  For the shaving cream bakery you can use the hand washing bucket to clean off the "cakes" in order to make some more.
3.  For a fun clean up, after all of the blocks have been cleaned (and their decorations have sunk down in the washing bucket) dump the bucket of water and watch all the sparkles and beads flow down the driveway.  The kids have a blast chasing after them and picking them up so we can use them again the next time. It's almost comical how much fun this is for them (little do they know they are picking up!!)

Ethan is creating a tall cake

Here is a selection of cupcakes and cookies.

I finally broke down and bought some more sidewalk chalk.  It was SO time. Our bucket was full of 1/2 inch - 1 inch pieces of chalk and all the vibrant ones were long gone. I was going to just toss those leftover bits, but then wondered if they could be mashed with the potatoe masher.  Well.....they can!  And the process is quite fun!

The first step was to soak the chalk bits in water for a while (like 15 minutes) if you planned ahead though, I think soaking them overnight would make for some fun mushier smashing.

Then...smash away!
Ella quickly realized her chalk needed more water.
Spray bottle to the rescue!  A little more water made the smashing
much more fun!

Smashing one color on top of another, on top of another
made some beautiful results!

Paper was requested and the smashing was
taken to an entirely different level.

The resulting paste the smashed chalk and water made
was perfect for footprints!

Since the shaving cream was out for the bakery, Ella decided
she wanted to see what would happen if she mixed some in
with her smashed chalk.  The results were great fun!

There was an amazing amount of learning that occured this morning. Loads of teamwork, creativity, trial and error, exploration, talking and listening to each other, small and large muscles working together, eyes and hands coordinating and let's not forget it was ALL play!!!

Ah yes...once again....PLAY COUNTS!!