Press Pause & Follow Their Lead

Today I am very excited to share a guest post with you, Stephanie from Boy Mama Teacher Mama.  Be sure to visit her fabulous blog for more great ideas and activities for kids!
 
I think that as parents we sometimes forget to stop, slow down and let our children take the lead. Well, at least I do.  There is always something else that has to be done whether it is preparing a meal, doing laundry or feeding the dogs, that gets in the way.  I am trying to be better about this with my 3 year old.  It isn’t easy for me to let go of all the things that have to get done, but I am getting better. And every time I do stop and take the time, I am rewarded with a wonderful moment in time with my son. I love watching him “work.”  I can see the wheels spinning in his mind and I love watching his little hands busy at work.  Yesterday was one of those days where I pushed the pause button on life and set up some open ended water and colour play for my son and it was, well, magical.
 
Materials:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Tray
Water in small pouring container
Food colouring
Small, clear containers
Various lids
Coffee filters cut into smaller pieces
Plastic droppers
Wax paper
 
Mama’s Directions:
To be quite honest there are no “directions” for this activity except to let your child take the lead.  Talk to him about what he is doing. Model language and provide vocabulary.  Allow him to get messy, to spill, to pour, to stack, to squirt (okay, squirting the walls was off limits…), to mix and to lead the journey.
 
Why did I choose the materials on the tray?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
These materials were not chosen at random. Instead, each item was selected for a specific purpose (or two). Here is what I chose and why.
Plastic tray– I put everything on a tray to create a defined work space.
Plastic dropper– Great for fine motor which allows for more control of the water than pouring, oh and they are so fun!! 🙂
Clear, shallow, plastic containers – I wanted my son to really see the colours he was using. A coloured container would have changed the look of what was inside and he would not be able to see the inside from outside. I used shallow containers so he could practice careful pouring.
Filter Paper– to observe how the paper absorbs the colours and to watch the water “creep” up the paper.
Wax Paper– to observe how the wax paper resists the water and the water forms in “blobs.”
Food Colouring– more fine motor practice when adding the colours to the containers.  For mixing colours and for seeing how the amount of water used effects the colour.
Lids of various sizes– more practice with careful pouring, working with smaller amounts of water than in the tub or with other water play.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
T. really enjoyed this activity.  His favourite thing, by far, was pouring, but this is no surprise, since he is 3 and he pours everything and anything he can get his hands on. He poured from the larger container into the smaller ones. He did not show much interest in mixing the colours; instead he just dumped them all together and poured them back and forth. He spent a bit of time using the dropper to move water from one place to another, but always returned to pouring.  The wax paper interested him for about 30 seconds while the filter paper was completely ignored. As I watched him play, I wondered what my almost six year old would do with the same materials.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So while T. napped, I set up the tray and presented it to my older son.  It was interesting to see what he went for first and, yes, it was the food colouring, just as my younger son did. He carefully put some of each colour in each compartment of the tray and then put a whole bunch of blue right into the container of water. He watched the colour disperse in the water and said, “Look at that, Mom!”  He then went right into using the dropper to move the liquid from one spot to another. He filled and unfilled each area a few times. He experimented for a bit on the wax paper. He watched the water form blobs and he even managed to make some bubbles within the blobs which he said looked like “sirens” to him.  He tested different ways to use the dropper- from high above, from right above and even from an angle below. The filter paper was much more interesting to my older son. We dipped it in the food colouring and watched the colours creep up the filter and the colours separate from one another.
 
So pushing that pause button on life once again proved to be so worth it.
 
Stephanie, the creator of Boy Mama Teacher Mama, was a primary school teacher for 14 years before stepping out of the classroom to stay home with her two boys. Boy Mama Teacher Mama offers both parents and teachers a variety of activities that can be done at home or in the classroom with a special emphasis on issues related to raising boys. When not creating, crafting or blogging, Stephanie enjoys spending time with her boys, quilting and baking.  You can follow Boy Mama Teacher Mama on Facebook, Twitter, Google and Pinterest.
 
   
 
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