Monday, March 7, 2011

a river of blue

One of my favourite things about teaching in a play based curriculum is that you never know where an experience will lead.

What started out as a simple painting experience with edicol paint and q-tips ended in a river of colour.

When some over zealous painting led to spilt paint on the concrete, two boys decided that painting the concrete was a far more attractive option than painting the paper.

My canny Director suggested that they might like to paint near a channel of water running into the drain from a leaky hose. The boys get to paint - the paint washes away.

Score for everyone involved!

Watching the water change colour was very exciting indeed.  "Its a river of blue!"  Quite a crowd of painters built up:

Yellow paint was added.  "Its turning green!"

Then some red.  "There are rainbows in the water!"

There was a lot of interest in what was happening in the drain:

Of course they had to paddle in it:

The world of preschoolers is like a series of experiments.  "What if I paint in the water?"  "What will it feel like to stand in?"  "What if we add red?"

Even the clean up becomes a "What will happen if....?"  "What will happen if we all get in the same bucket?"

(Edicol is a vegetable dye powder that you add to water and it all washed away and didn't stain the concrete)


  1. Oh wow! What a fantastic, fun learning experience for the children... don't you just love this spontanious 'What if...?' stuff!
    great photo's Jen!

  2. The river of blue - and green and red and orange - is stunning to read/see on a cloudy rain-threatening day in California! Thank you for the photos and "series of experiments" with children and paint and joy. Lovely.

  3. Oh, I am so jealous! I want to play barefoot outside and paint!


  4. I love it! It's why I love this age group. Everything is an experiment!

  5. Love it - such creative, playful fun.

  6. Thanks guys. It is such a treat to work in an environment, and with a Director, where you can work with the kids to find a way they can do things like paint on the floor. This episode went on for ages and had the kids involved really engaged.

  7. Fantastic. makes me want to be 4 again. So much learning going on wraped up in fun!

  8. One of my favorite questions: "What would happen if...?" And the kids ask it so much better than I do.

    Love the "rainbows in the water."

  9. Very wonderfull pictures! I can just imagine the warmth of the sunshine, and the focus and involvement of your children is apparent. I have a hunch they were almost completely silent.? (Sometimes I've noticed that when my kids are totally engaged in a sensory/creative experience they don't really need to talk.) And ususally very relaxed and content for the balance of the day.
    Thankyou for explaining edicol dye, I'd been planning to look it up on google.

  10. Awesome! I would never think of posting something like this! It is stuff kids discover---I remember learning like this all the time as a kid! You truly learn through play!

  11. Brenda - you are right, they were almost completely silent. That is until they started running through the water!

    Melissa: Absolutely - sometimes I need to remind myself that it is not just through the planned experiences and environment, but also through the unexpected and completely child-led that learning happens.

  12. Jenny- this looks like so much fun! I love the continued curiosity and all of the questioning :). It is amazing to work in a place where you can nurture the questions and the exploration! I love not knowing what they will think of next! Thanks for sharing, I am sooooooooo ready for warmer weather around here! We had a few snow flurries again today, so I think we are still a few months away from bare foot puddle jumping!

  13. Jenny,
    I have followed your lovely blog for some time now and today is the first time that I am connecting with you here. I have to tell you how very inspiring your ideas are. These days, parents and teachers primarily focus on learning while ignore the play aspect of the process.

    I so agree with your philosophy that learning often happens in an unplanned and unexpected ways. And, infact, when the learning is child-led, it stays with them for ever.

    Thanks for all the inspiration. :)
    Greetings from India :)
    I blog here about creative parenting:

  14. Gorgeous Karma - thanks for taking the time to leave such a gorgeous comment :) Hopping over to have a look at your blog now.

  15. I'm just waiting for the perfect day to get out in our street and do this! It'll be so much fun splashing in the water - but changing its colors? Henry will love that!

    I'm featuring this post on my weekly High Five! finds this week.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

    Jamie @ hands on : as we grow