A Month in Moments - July '19 Edition
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
It's July. It's hot. Most of the kiddos are on summer break. As a former classroom teacher, my brain still wants to go into summer mode after all the play and learning and exploration HG and I have done this year :). This month, the entire Month in Moments calendar is planned around one of the most universally enthralling things to play with and an incredibly important resource, WATER. In this post, you'll find a few ways to approach a Month in Moments calendar, water conservation tips since we'll be using a precious resource in some different ways, and a downloadable, printable calendar of an activity for each day for the month! ENJOY this simple and cooling invitation to play!
Getting started: Ask your kiddos what they Know and Want to know about water (the first parts of a KWL chart and a great way to help you predict what might engage your kiddos). This can sound like, "What do you like to do with water?", "Hmmmm what do you think happens if we put water in the freezer? If we put ice in the grass? On the street? What else do you want to know about water?". Explore the Month in Moments calendar here and some of the resources below to pick activities that may hook your learners. The first week focuses on splashing and dumping water to get used to how water moves, to begin to notice how liquids can take on the shape of their container, and to see what sinks and floats. In the second week, you'll find activities that involve mixing water to see what makes water thick and to watch colors mix. Water always led to imaginative play in my childhood - we built a water park that my father still swears destroyed our backyard, made soup in our turtle sandbox that definitely rotted, and played mermaids for hours and hours in pools. The third week will help you invite your kiddos to play imaginatively with water while using some engineering skills to create boats and more. Then, we'll dig in to water as a resource in the final week and look at how water shapes our Earth. Celebrate the month by creating a non-destructive water park :). Remember, these activities are simply suggested ideas. You can do them in any order. You can spend a week doing the same activity over and over if your kiddo is engaged. Repetition is wonderful for younger learners. HG could spend a month throwing rocks into puddles or bowls of water :).
Download and print a copy of the Month in Moments Calendar here!
Why water play? Water play provides children with opportunities for both gross motor (transporting heavy jugs of water) and fine motor play (finding and grasping small items underwater even as light refracts, making it a little more challenging to judge where items are). Depending on what else we provide with the water, we can invite children to do everything from practicing cooking to building miniature dams and deciding when to release water. As learners dump water from container to container, clean toy cars with sponges and water, etc they can begin to build an understanding of concepts like volume, porosity, viscosity, surface tension, density, mixing, and more. When followed with discussions or opportunities to draw/write what they did and saw, water play boosts language development and provides adults an opportunity to introduce some new terms to learners. Water play is fun with friends, providing authentic opportunities to practice turn taking, communication, story telling, and more. The repetitive play patterns learners may choose, like stirring, dumping, floating their hands in water can be calming. Water play is a way to play messy, boosting creativity and innovative thinking/play without the "mess" that may overwhelm children and adults alike. Also...water is cooling, a perfect tool to make outdoor (and indoor) play both more fun and useful all summer long!
Keeping a science notebook: This month, you're invited to add on to your memory notebook from last month and earlier. Try to keep a science notebook! There will be prompts for each day n the calendar document above. Chat about these while you play or at a meal. You can discuss these with your kiddos and use their responses as the caption in your memory notebook or you can work together to write/scribble responses in a notebook. On a few days, kiddos will get to make and test predictions (like sorting items into a sink and a float pile). Sometimes, we feel tempted to erase our incorrect ideas. Instead, in science notebooks, one simple slash through an incorrect or changed idea is used. Often, our mistakes lead to the most learning, if we erase them, we lose the chance to look back at what we've wondered, learned, and discovered. Working together to scribble/write responses shows kiddos that reading and writing has SO MANY uses, like recording ideas, and that scientists don't simply explode things in labs, they work hard to test and refine what they know by trying again and again. If we can help our learners to develop this kind of persistence and to let go of fear/shame in being wrong (or to avoid developing shame at being wrong in the first place...) we are doing them a big service as they continue to learn and grow.
Preserving an important resource: On most days, water can be poured back into containers and saved for the next day. This practice in and of itself is a joyful and valuable learning experience. Kiddos learn to help clean up with something that is not messy, if they spill they probably get to cool off a bit, and pouring challenges fine and gross motor skills! If the water gets a bit gritty, it could be used to water plants. Consider supplying your kiddos with only a limited amount of water for each activity (1-4 gallons is definitely enough). If the water runs out, pull out a map and look at places where there is little access to water and use this moment that could be frustrating to build empathy as you think about how others access such an important resource. When possible, use natural water features to play - like a puddle, stream, or pond. Be sure to check around the feature for itchy plants and animals that should be avoided. And, make sure not to leave litter behind. Find more ways to reduce your use of water here AND if you want to have some surprising discussions, take a look at how much water goes into some products we use often or calculate your water footprint here.
Dive in to some water play and share pictures of your learners at work using #watchwonderbloom!