Saturday, February 5, 2011

water play in the preschool playscape

With temperatures climbing up to the 40's this week, I'm thinking a post on water play is needed to cool us all down. 

Early childhood centres all over are finding creative ways to add water to their playscapes.  

Water Tanks

A valuable addition to any Australian playscape (fingers crossed ours will arrive this term!), water tanks not only provide water for outdoor play but teach children about water conservation. 

Pop on over to Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning to read Make it Irresistible: Install a Water Tank.


Rain Barrels

This inspired cast-iron pump and jerry rigged water run at Woodland Park Co-op is filled with water using the blue rain barrel in the background.
Image: Teacher Tom
 PVC Piping Sprinklers

Image from Preschool Daze

Water Courses

A creek meanders through the play area linking the rainwater tank, the sandpit and the frog pond at Kensington Gardens Preschool

Recirculating Fountains

A custom water play sculpture set into the sand area:

Fresh water pumps with troughs and tubes:

Water Pumps

Sand and water play areas with children pumping their own water into sand pits:

Katoomba Preschool @ Ric Mcconaghy

Abbortsford Long Day Care Centre @ Ric Mconaghy

Joey Club @ Ric Mcconaghy

Dog Lick Faucet

I love this idea from Rusty Keeler of Earthplay.  Attach a dog lick faucet to the hose for use in the sandpit.  Children can push the small trigger to send a trickle of water out into the sand.  You can find a photo of this set up on Rusty's flickr set.

For more information on adding water to your playscape you might like to take a look at these links:

::: Water, Water Everywhere by Rusty Keeler
::: Wonderful Water Play - Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning
 You could have the grandest water feature this side of the Mississippi or the simplest water sprinkler hooked up to a garden hose. The important thing is that you are providing children with the opportunity to interact with water.  Rusty Keeler.


  1. Great post Jenny. Just this week Sherry and I have been mucking about with water tubs and syphons, (thanks to Uncle Bill). We'll post on this shortly!
    Donna :) :)

  2. Jeez, you were quick! Look forward to Uncle Bill's invention.

  3. This summer I've realised that if my 2 year old had nothing to play with but water and sand, he'd be completely fulfilled!

    We visited the Ian Potter Children's Garden at the Botanic Gardens in Melbourne recently, the kids played with the water course there for hours. It had a wonderful, climbable cairn made of scoria rock at the head of the stream, with bubblers of water coming from it. Lots of squirting, saturated fun!

  4. So many great water ideas. I know my kids would love them

    Just popping by to read/follow blogs before the AusBlogCon. There's so many I find it hard to read them all and this way I am finally "meeting" some new ones. Pop over to bigwords if you ever get a chance x

  5. Sarah, next time I am in Melbourne I'm definately taking the kids to the Botanic gardens - sounds tops!

    Big Words: great to have you stop by :) Popping over to big words right now.

  6. Whenever I am too much in my head, thinking about trandisciplinary possibilities, creativity, and children...I refresh myself by being inspired with your blog!
    I heart water, and this post is just what I needed. Thanks!

  7. Those pvc pipe sprinklers are are great idea!

  8. I love the ideas and quite interested in the photo under the recirculating fountain. This is something we want for our kindy but how does it acutally work? Does the water get collected under the sandpit somewhere to be recirculated, and how do you stop the sand getting in the pump? We are wanting to extend our sandpit at kindy to include a water play sculpture but not sure how to start!