Thursday, February 10, 2011

planning a new water wall for water play

With our recent hot weather and popularity of water play at preschool I have been thinking of ways to resurrect our water wall

The water wall was a structure created using a variety of plastic containers drilled onto wooden board in such a way that water is directed in various streams, drips, and flows when poured over-top, and collected in containers below.

This is the (dearly departed) water wall one of my clever colleagues created with the kids some years ago: 

Where better to look for inspiration for our new water wall than my blogging friends from around the globe?

Sherry and Donna from Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning created their water wall on a wooden fence.  All that was needed was an assortment of plastic containers, a drill and lots of little willing helpers:

I love the use of lengths of tubing on the water wall created by the children at Charleson Park Children's Centre:

They even spruced theirs up with a lick of paint:

Teacher Tom's water wall grew from this:

To this:

Playing by the Book created a water wall on an old fence panel:

And then there are the "shop bought" models.  I like the idea of using guttering on this one from Kidantics:

And this fancy shmancy one from Timotay Playscapes:

I think we have some planning to do with the kids!

What ideas for water play have you been using lately?


  1. Oh Jenny! I am SO ready to be thinking about and talking about a water wall!!! However, mother nature has other plans. We did talk about making a wall with peg board and using nuts and bolts for the children to be able to rearrange the items. It is on our wish list for summer. I'd love to have it over a corner of our sandbox so it can be a sand and water wall. Today, we are still completely covered in snow,it is between -15 and -5 Farenheit with the windchill... Do you think you can send some of that warm weather this way?

  2. yes, we're covered in 17 inches of snow here too so a water wall sounds especially dreamy.

    we share our playground with the neighborhood and have to assume anything we leave out could be gone. but we do have lots and lots of chainlink fence and i think i could attach some things to that nicely.

    thanks for getting us thinking!

  3. These would give my son hours of outdoor fun!

  4. I love the idea of a water wall. I've enjoyed seeing my blog friends experimenting and building their walls. I'm not able to do that yet...but am looking forward to the day I can have one, too. My favorite walls are ones that kids helped create.

  5. wow! Am so impressed! Lets hope I do not forget this idea, when Spring will be here and we can construct a water wall at our home:) thanks!

  6. Absolutely love the water walls. It is such an accessible lesson, can they cost as much or as little as a centre can afford. There are so many great science conceps drawn from this activity.

  7. We've been playing with water during the winter. The kids get to learn a lot about . . . BEING COLD!

    Seriously though, I think one of the things that is most important about a water wall is that it is either 1) flexible enough to be changed around by the kids, or 2) temporary, designed to be dismantled and rebuilt anew for each school year. When I was in England last year, I saw lots of permanent water wall type installations, but the kids weren't playing with them. Ours was made by the kids themselves last year, but when I brought it out this year, it was met with a "ho hum." I'm trying to come up with a technique for a water wall that has parts the kids can move around on their own to reconfigure anyway they want. I think that's the long term idea.

  8. I'm inclined to agree with Tom. The wall should be almost ephemeral - temporary, shifting. Different children should guide it's construction and it's direction....

  9. Like Tom

    I find water play all year round great. It's been snowing this week and this doesn't stop water play if that's what children are interested in.

    I used velcro straps,foam-covered wire, pipes and guttering and other loose parts. Then it's an unfixed wall structure for 2 reasons:
    - I work in areas where anything left outside is broken or stolen or displaced
    - It's all back to the theory of loose parts and creativity.

    Best wishes

  10. I think out of all the things I will miss about St.John's Kinder ... and amongst the obvious human I will miss ... it will be that amazing water wall we created with the children last year (oh and the Hush Garden, I will definitely miss that too!) Our children played with that wall every-single-day. If they weren't tipping water down it they were using marbles! They had so much ownership of it because not only did they decide where the holes were going to be drilled, they drilled them all themselves and attached each and every screw, wing nut and container as well. They loved the fact that they could move it all around which was perfect because at times the bottle necks got stuffed with tanbark by the pre-K children so the kinder children could unscrew them, empty the tanbark and put them back on the wall. It was always a great opportunity for them to experiment with new water paths.

    Yep! I am going to miss that water wall for sure!

    Donna :) :)

  11. I love them! We will definitely be building one - once it stops raining! It's not that we don't play in the rain, but anything left out there is getting very soggy and disintegrating at the moment, so I need to work out what to put it on. Thanks for all the ideas.

  12. Wow, these are awesome! I had no idea this existed. Maybe we'll add one to our playscape this summer.

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  14. Thanks everyone for all your lovely comments and tips for water wall play. I love the idea that the water wall is ephemeral - so many things in our outdoor environment seem to be this way.

  15. Thanks you for all your inspiration for playing....I was able to put together a very simple water wall for my playgroups using the inspiration I saw here.

  16. After reading your original blog on waterwalls it inspired me to construct one at our preschool. It was ready for use yesterday and the children loved it. Thank you

  17. Brilliant idea - I can't wait to build one for our centre. I am sure the children will love it!

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  19. I just made an awesome water wall/ ball run you can see it on my blog