A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum
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Water Play All Day
What is more fun that water? Learning about water and doing fun water-related activities of course! Seriously, I think Susie saved the best for last as the water unit consisted of engaging, hands-on learning and fun activities. I especially loved the books she suggested for this unit. I had not heard of any of them and I loved them all for different reasons. It also didn't hurt that we started this unit just as the temperatures were starting to climb so we could pretty much do water play all day.
Building Background Knowledge
*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this unit
I Get Wet* - Vicki Cobb
Water is Water* - Paul, Miranda --> See my full review here.
Wet - Sookocheff, Carey
Water Can Be...* - Sals, Laura Purdie
Rain - Ashman, Linda
Piggy in the Puddle* - Pomerantz, Charlotte
Additional Book List
Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.
The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks - Cole, Joanna
National Geographic Readers: Water - Stewart, Melissa
Down Comes the Rain - Branley, Dr. Franklyn, M.
The Great Big Water Cycle Adventure - Barnham, Kay
All the Water in the World - Lyon, George Ella
Why Water's Worth It - Harrison, Lori
One Well - The Story of Water on Earth - Strauss, Rochelle
A Drop Around the World - McKinney, Barbara Shaw
Floating and Sinking - Hansen, Amy S.
What Sinks? What Floats? - Williams, Rozanne
Water Dance - Locker, Thomas
The Little Raindrop - Gray, Joanna
The Water Princess - Verde, Susan (diverse characters)
Swashby and the Sea* - Ferry, Beth --> The sea brings together unlikely friends (diverse characters)
Float - Miyares, Daniel --> A wordless picture book adventure
Who Sank the Boat? - Allen, Pamela
The Big Umbrella - Bates, Amy June (inclusive)
Swimmy - Lionni, Leo (teamwork)
Educational Games and Toys
Sunny Days Kitchen Sink Play Set with Running Water
Developing Life Skills: Read a book about the importance of water like Why Water's Worth It and talk about why it is important to conserve water and ways that you and your child can help.
Field Trip: Take a trip to visit a water source like a lake, river, natural spring, the ocean (or a water treatment facility). Talk about pollution and notice whether the water is clean or polluted.
Cooking Activity: Make Jell-o and discuss the steps as you perform them: boiling the water, stirring and dissolving the powder, refrigerating the solution and the final product.
Sensory Bin: Two words: water beads. If you have never used water beads in a sensory bin, they are the ultimate sensory experience. Even adults love to play with them! Pro tip: you don't need to use a lot as they grow much bigger than they start out.
Water Play: Embrace the simple joys: turn on the hose, sprinkler or splash pad, splash in a puddle, go ice skating, play in the snow!
STEM Activity: Try this Rainbow Melting Ice Experiment from Powerful Mothering to see the chemical reaction between ice and salt.
Fine Motor Skills: Try this Water Absorption Science Activity by Little Bins for Little Hands
Gross Motor Skills: Practice Painting Circles with Water using a Hula Hoop a la playHOORAY.
We finished Playing Preschool Year 1 at the beginning of the summer, shortly after the COVID-19 restrictions and closures began to ease. We had had a beach trip to my family's condo planned for months and we live a short 90-minute drive away so we felt like it was safe to go as long as we continued social distancing. The trip to the beach was a natural extension to the water unit, and a great segue into exploring wave action and ocean life. Not to mention, the combination of sand and water makes the beach the world's best and biggest sensory bin. We packed tons of books about the beach and sea creatures and had an amazing family trip. It was definitely bittersweet to be finished with our curriculum but it was the perfect way to celebrate all the learning and growing my toddler had done over the past year.
What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool Forum for Unit 19.
Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy.
Coming Soon: Playing Preschool: Year 2
See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses, Unit 7: Teddy Bears, Unit 8: Things That Go Together, Unit 9: Community Helpers, Unit 10: Transportation, Unit 11: On the Farm, Unit 12: Weather, Unit 13: Eggs, Unit 14: Plants, Unit 15: Construction, Unit 16: Pets, Unit 17: Opposites, Unit 18: Fairy Tales