Splish & Splash to Critical Thinking: Water Play - DuPage Children's Museum

Splish & Splash to Critical Thinking: Water Play

June 9, 2017

If you have been to the Museum in the past few weeks I am sure you have noticed that our water exhibit is under construction. If you come visit in the next few weeks you might be able to catch a sneak peek of the installation of our new water exhibit, AWEsome Water. Many visitors may be sad to be without water but we promise it will be worth the wait.

Few children can resist the draw to play in water, and who can blame them. Water is fascinating, fun, and multifaceted. Maybe it’s the way the light reflects off the surface, the way that it seems to mysteriously move, or the innate desire to answer the question “what will happen if I…” that lures children into those puddles. Regardless of the motivation, this natural pull clearly demonstrates the theories of modern cognitive psychologists Piaget and Vygotsky regarding the child’s innate drive to make sense of the world and the things in it.

By jumping in that puddle or splashing in the sink, your child is working to actively construct an understanding of the properties of water and so much more. Water play promotes problem-solving and thinking skills in general, but also presents open-ended opportunities to experiment with math and science concepts, strengthen physical skills, advance social and emotional skills, and enhance language development.

So while you await the unveiling of our new AWEsome Water area, I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some ways to extend water play at home.

Water Play at Home
You can make your own water table with a plastic storage bin. Here are some items you might consider letting your child explore:

Measuring cups
Basters
Sponges
Hand mixers
Gentle, nontoxic liquid soap
Bowls
Funnels
Brushes
Spray bottles
Plastic containers with lids (poke holes in some of them so children can explore what happens)

Support Critical Thinking by
Ask questions and making comments to spark children’s curiosity and engagement.

What happened when you put that in the water? Why do you think that happened?
I noticed that you . . .
I wonder what would happen if . . . ?
How did/could you . . . ?
What’s similar/different about these?
Why do you think this works?

What are your memories of water play as a child? Do you have a favorite story about your child and waterplay you would like to share? We would love to hear from you! Post a comment on Facebook, or Twitter. Be sure you check out the next blog that will detail the learning taking place with our new exhibit components.