What can a child learn from pouring water?
A lot actually.
A whole stink lot from just pouring some water.
Look, I know toddlers are messy. I know toddlers are wild. I know toddlers have growing motor skills and letting them have a pitcher of water is basically most caregiver’s worst nightmare but let’s be honest:
If we don’t explicitly teach these skills, how are toddlers supposed to learn them?
This is a subtle call to action.
Our kids need chances to learn, to make mistakes, to hone their skills, to grow through experience and if we pour every cup for them – how are they supposed to learn these kinds of skills?
ROUTINE: Want to see how I incorporate life skills activities into home preschool? Check out Playing Preschool.
Instead of hovering and hoping…
Let’s give them chances.
Let’s believe in them.
Let’s help them prepare for the day when they will need to pour their own glass.
We can do so much good with a water pouring station
When a child is using a water pouring station – they are learning and experiencing so much not just “how to pour“.
First, the set up:
Here’s how I set up this activity (it’s crazy easy).
I first grab a 31 quart storage container to be my base – this helps keep the water spills contained.
I fill up a second storage container with water (dyed blue here because my two year old DEMANDED it). Then I add in “the tools”: funnels, jars, ice cube trays, measuring cups.
Then I bust out a giant beach towel and set it all on that – maximum drip protection.
BUT WHAT DO THEY LEARN?!
Ok this is what my son is learning in this activity:
1. Life Skills: Pouring Water
This is a big one.
We can’t expect our toddlers to learn to pour their cups if we never give them the chance to learn.
Yes, water spills. But I’d rather him spill water here than orange juice all over my floor….
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My son noticed this when playing with this activity.
“When I put my hand in, the water goes up!!!”
That, my friends, is what we call learning through play. I didn’t need to lecture him on displacement. He got it all on his own and it was a solid 5 mins of experimenting with it as he explored the theory.
3. Whirlpools / Vortex
When my son poured the water into the funnel, he immediately noticed the vortex it made.
HE SAW A WHIRLPOOL.
This is incredible for a toddler to notice and recognize and start learning about.
This is one of my FAVORITE things kids learn from pouring water.
They learn about capacity, about volume. They begin to understand how “big” containers are and how much you can put in one. They won’t learn until age 7-11 Conservation (that a liquid remains in the same amount regardless the shape of the container).
5. Grip Strength
Let’s be honest: kids don’t use their hands nearly has much as they did in previous generations and activities like this give kids a chance to exercise those muscles.
Lifting a heavy container of water and having the strength to move, shift, and rotate that pitcher is HUGE.
There really is so much to learn from pouring water
It’s not the fanciest activity by any means, but it is definitely one of the most important.
Yes, they’re pouring water but we know…they’re doing so much more.