Saturday, March 1, 2014

Racing Leaves

Another day of rain, means another day of wet fun!  Growing up in England, I have been no stranger to rainy days, so today whilst playing outside with my daughter, I remembered a fun game I used to play as a child. Sailing a boat made out of paper along the gutter on the edge of the road. For environmental reasons, we substituted paper boats for an organic version... leaves.

Who can play?
Children aged two and above, depending on their age and stage of development .Due to this activity being close to the edge of the road, I would recommend it only for children who can listen/follow instruction and be safe.

As mentioned previously, this activity uses the guttering next to the road, so children should only play this on a quiet street and be supervised at all times whilst being reminded of road safety.

What do I need?
  • Waterproof clothing and boots.
  • Leaves and twigs
  • A good downpour of rain
What did we do?
Firstly, Bee pointed out the water running down the street. We had had a big down pour overnight and all morning, causing the water in the guttering to flow really fast. I asked her why the water was running down the street and she told me it was because it was raining, which was true, but I also pointed out that the street was on a hill, making the water run down from the top to the bottom. The next question was what did she think would happen if we dropped a twig in the water, she replied " It will float" Bee picked a twig up from the floor and held it in the water, swishing it around "Look mummy" she said "the twig is making the water go funny and move". Next she dropped it in the flow and surprisingly it did not float away.

I then asked her to look for things she thought were light enough for the water to carry.  Finding a small leaf, she gently placed it on top of the water. her little face was a picture, when she let go and watched it float down the street. She looked so excited and followed it on its path.

After doing this for around five minutes, she invited me to join in with her play and race our leaves together. On the count of three, we let go and followed our leaves on their journey until the end of the block.

Half way through the play, we had a blockage in the path of the water. We talked about why that had happened, for example some bits of tree bark were too big and heavy and were collecting at one point. Bee commented on the water moving around them, but quickly removed them, ensuring that her game could carry on. We also discussed, how the water flows into the drains and then out to sea, so that was why it is important to make sure we do not throw litter in the drains.

We spent twenty minutes playing this game and experimenting with the water. Bee enjoyed her new experience and I enjoyed a trip down memory lane.

What did we learn?
Personal, Social and Emotional: Enjoying trying new experiences. Fun and enjoyment. Independent thinking.
Creative: Creating her own game. Problem solving on her own.
Mathematical: Counting. Learning concepts of weight, such as light and heavy. Knowledge of directions, for example the water flowing down the street.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World: Becoming interested and curious in the world around her.Exploring nature and its forces. Developing science concepts such as floating and sinking. Learning how to be safe at the roadside.
Communication, Language and Literacy: Making small movements in the water with the stick (developing pre-writing skills) Listening to and answering questions. Talked about what she was seeing and doing.
Physical: Fine manipulative when picking up objects with forefinger and thumb and placing them in the water.

What could be done next?
Due to Bee's high level of involvement in this activity, I am going to invest in some plastic guttering and make our own stream in her water tray. You could also make some boats out of paper or card and sail them in the bath, using either your mouth or a straw to blow them.

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