- They developed critical and creative thinking skills.
- They learned some science. (Hot water melts snow faster than cold water. Cold water melts snow faster than no water. My daughter shifted her language from "disappeared" to "melted." She learned it from her brother).
- Most importantly... they had fun!
Stay out of the way and let them explore. Redirect only when needed (as in to keep snow off the oriental rugs).
Sometimes adults are quick to tell kids they can't do something. I know I am often guilty of this, especially if I am tired. But, try to stop and think, "WHY not?" Is there any danger? Can anyone get hurt? Can belongings be damaged? If so, could the work be altered slightly (as I did by guiding them to the idea of a container) to prevent problems?
The only real safety concern I faced was the issue of my daughter getting into the tub alone. Solution? I simply stood nearby. The rest of the time I stayed out of it. Oh, and I did take some photos!
A few suggestions for teachers: Preschool teachers could bring big buckets of snow into the classroom for use in the water table. K- 2 teachers might have students take measurements such as how long it takes one cup of snow to melt in 90 degree water vs. 50 degree water. Older students could be asked how they might structure an investigation of their own that involves snow.
For more suggestions on promoting inquiry see this previous post.
When have you let your children or students play in a way that you might not have considered or initially wanted? What were the results? Please share your experiences so that we can learn from each other.