Experimenting with water and objects encourages understanding of complex science ideas – why things float and why they sink. Whānau can support expressive language as tamariki experiment, observe, hypothesise, wonder, problem-solve and ask questions.
Why do it?
So that tamariki can:
- enjoy a play and learning activity indoors or outside
- have an opportunity to predict and test ideas
- experience the fun and soothing effects of water play
- strengthen expressive language by building their vocabulary of terms related to floating, sinking and water play.
How to do it
- Make sure the situation is safe for your tamaiti. Water play needs close supervision at all times.
- You’ll need some water in a container — for example, a bath, basin, bowl, bucket, puddle or rock pool.
- You’ll need things to test — ask your tamaiti to help collect some nearby things that are okay to get wet.
- Items from home could be a wooden block, a plastic lid, a peg, a cork, a sock, a metal spoon, a flower or some leaves.
- At the beach you could collect small stones, shells, sticks, feathers, pumice, some seaweed or leaves.
- Have them hold each thing one at a time and ask them what they think will happen when they put it into the water.
- Ask them, ‘Why do you think that happened?’
- Try all the things you collected to see what floats and what sinks — you could help them to group the items.
- If your tamaiti is still interested, you can think and talk about what the things that float or sink have in common with each other.
- If you’re playing in a bucket, bowl or a bath, explore what happens to the water level when something big sinks to the bottom. If you can make a mark on the bucket before and after, you can measure the difference the sinking object makes to the water level. This is called ‘water displacement’.
- In the bath, notice what happens to the water level when someone gets in (and out) of the water.
- Share picture books such as, Who Sank the Boat?, Mr Archimedes’ Bath and Alexander’s Outing, all by Pamela Allen.
Using more reo Māori
|Te reo Māori
|Ka taea e te [...] te tere?
|Will the […] float ?
|E kore te [...] e tere?
|The […] won’t float
|Ka taea te [...] te totohu?
|Will the […] sink ?
|E kore te [...] e totohu
|The […] won’t sink
|Ka taea e te awe te tere
|The feather can float
|E kore te awe e totohu
|The feather won’t sink
|Ka totohu te kōhatu
|The stone will sink
|E kore te kōhatu e tere
|The stone won’t float