Great Water Table Ideas For Your Preschool Classroom
written by: ElleB
• edited by: Jonathan Wylie
• updated: 12/10/2014
Use these preschool water table ideas for increased interest in learning about weather and the various forms of water. These songs and activities are guaranteed to keep your students engaged.
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A Water Table Introduction
The activites below involve teaching your preschool class about water tables. You will find that they offer fun and they are also educational. Activities like these greatly assist with sensory development. They stimulates all senses and will capture a child's interest so that his interest thrives from the time of preschool until he goes to elementary school. There are hundreds of great water table ideas which are perfect for preschool children. The ones below are some of my favorites.
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Starfish Song - (Sing to "Mary Had A Little Lamb")
I'm a little brown starfish,
Brown starfish, brown starfish
I'm a little brown starfish
Who lives under the sea
A Sailor Went To Sea
A sailor went to sea, sea, sea
To see what he could see, see, see
But all that he could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea!
Octopus Song (Sing To Three Blind Mice)
In the Sea, In the Sea
To swim they use all 8 of their arms
Their color changes to hide them from harm
They live in the sea, not on a farm
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Melting and Freezing
Read “I Am Water" by Jean Marzollo with the class, and talk about the different forms of water. You could link this topic to the water cycle and the way water changes during the the cycle. Talk also about melting and freezing.
Allow groups of children to fill an ice-cube tray and put the tray in the freezer. Check on the tray the next day, and turn an ice-cube out for each child. Talk about the difference in the water, and what has happened to it. Get the children to pretend to be water molecules, freely walking around, and then freeze into ice by grouping up and holding hands.
Add the ice-cubes to water in the tray, and allow the children to play with them. Watch them get smaller and change shape as they melt. Demonstrate this by putting the children back into their ‘ice’ position, and slowly removing a child at a time for each group and allowing them to be free water again until all the frozen groups have melted.
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Add a range of pots, pans, jugs and funnels to the water, and allow the children to play with them. You could read about dams or other water control methods, and ask the children to work out how to control the water themselves. Pouring is excellent for hand-eye coordination, and you can add items such as glitter to the water to make the activity more interesting. You can add some soap to make the water bubbly, or foam letters to make ‘alphabet soup’.
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Read “Flip Flap Ocean" by Andrew Crowson, allowing the children to create a range of sea creatures and talk about their features. You could also read books such as “What’s In The Tide Pool?" by Anne Hunter, which talks about how animals survive living in tide pools.
Put plastic animals out for the children to see, and encourage them to sort through the animals and decide which would live in the water and which would not. You could link this with a topic on geography, by showing children the different oceans and explaining the differences, which mean some animals live in some oceans but not others.
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Float or Sink?
Read “Little Quacks Bath Book" by Lauren Thompson with the class seated in a circle put the Quack toy in the middle. Ask the children about floating and sinking, and evaluate what they already know. Ask them what they think will happen if they put the Quack toy into the water. Read “Floating and Sinking" by Sue Barraclough, and ask the children again.
Pour a pan of water and take Quack over to the water. Have the children guess whether he will sink or swim. Also take other objects, such as boats and paper weights, some of which will float and some which won’t. Ask the children to guess which items will float, and which will sink. Use some everyday objects, such as a sheet of paper and glitter.
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Explore The Weather
Gather the class and read "Elmer's Weather" by David Mckee, and "What's The Weather?" by Scholastic Inc. Discuss the different types of weather as a group, and which season each type is likely to occur in.
Put out a can to capture rain water to show students how water accumulates. Add chunks of ice or snow to a pan of warm water. Watch how the heat of the room melts the ice or snow as the children play with it, and explain that this is why the snow melts in the Sun. Use a sieve to create rain.
If you are studying animals, add polar animals such as polar bears and penguins to the water, and let the children help them play in the ice.
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These preschool ideas for learning about water are great fun to use with your students, and they can lend themselves to so many different aspects of the curriculum. Try some today and see how much your students enjoy them.