We are smack bang in the middle of another potion mixing frenzy. We go through phases where it seems that every time you turn around you almost trip over a child asking "Can we make potions, can we make potions?"
Little containers, muffin trays, ice cube trays, spoons, stirrers and eye droppers are all on the "must have" potion mixing equipment list.
Water, coloured edicol dye powder, glitter, the dregs from the paint pots at the end of the day and natural materials like sand and dirt are the current ingredients of choice.
There is something about the warmer weather that goes hand in hand with mixing potions. Taking it outside removes the "worrying about the mess" factor which frees the children to play and investigate any way they choose.
There is also the added bonus of being able to easily gather bits and pieces to add to their brew: dirt, sand, bark, grass, herbs and sticks for stirring are all within arms reach. The outdoors is like one giant supermarket for potion ingredients.
I've been wondering exactly what it is about mixing potions that puts it so high on the kid's "must do" list?
Is it the sensory nature of the materials involved? Is it the allure of small glass containers and eye droppers? Is it the preschoolers' love of pouring, stirring, mixing, measuring and shaking? Is it their innate desire to investigate and see how they can cause change in their world?
It is probably a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, by giving kids the opportunity and the time to freely explore a whole range of materials as they mix up their brews we are giving them the opportunity to try out their own ideas and to learn through play and investigation. And that is what science in the early years is all about.
Pop on over to Go Explore Nature and Marghanita for some potion mixing inspiration.