Week 2: Water Play (52 Weeks of Provocations)

You can find more information about provocations here 🙂

Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Provocation 2 : Water Play

Background Information

At first I thought I would do a direct follow up to last week’s provocation. However, during the week, we noticed that Squirm was really interested in scooping up water and playing with it during bath time. We’ve slowly been introducing Squirm to cups and other drinking implements during meal times, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to extend the ideas he’d been playing with in the bath.

Materials

  • Two stainless steel bowls (from KMart)
  • A plastic mug and ‘glass’ (from KMart)
  • A small rug (from KMart)
  • A ‘tough’ mirror (from the hardware section of our local discount store)
  • Water

Set Up

At first I set this one up on the ground, with the mat laid down, two bowls of water next to each other, and the mirror, glass and mug in front. However, Squirm wasn’t great at moving around when sitting, so we moved it to the upturned crate. Although this made access easier for Squirm, it did make balancing things more precarious. I’m really glad I’ve bought a small table now!

The small rug was a wonderful way of ‘setting’ the activity – making it clear that this was something separate. It was also heavy enough that it didn’t move in the wind, and dried really well when hung up between play.

 

Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Experiences

Squirm’s experience with the water was quite messy. His initial approach was to smack his hands into the water, resulting in some spectacular splashes and some of the times the water bowl would tip. As the week went on, I noticed that he approached the water more carefully – hitting it more softly or splashing only his fingers in it. He still played with tipping the bowl over, and enjoyed playing with the water that splashed on the ground.

When he’d emptied the water out of the bowl, Squirm enjoyed playing with the bowls themselves. They made a wonderful clatter when they were dropped on the concrete floor, and because the base was very rounded (with only a small flat bit) they wobbled and spun in a really enjoyable way. Squirm loved to tip one side, then release it, watching the way it would rock back and forward on its own.

Because he’d been scooping with a cup in the bath, I thought he’d do the same with the cup and mug here. However, he was less interested in that than playing with the cup and mug themselves. He loved the sound of them dropping on the concrete, but also the ways they would move – the cup would roll in wide circles, while the mug was stopped by the handle. He did drop them in water occasionally, but didn’t pick any water up with the cups.

Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

What Next?

I’m definitely going to continue to offer provocations with water to Squirm – he is endlessly fascinated by it and the way it moved – plus it’s easy to play with, especially as it heats up. I’m also going to keep using the mat, which really defined the working area, and the stainless steel bowls, which were just so nice to look at and manipulate. I may offer another provocation using the cups in the future, but without any kind of preconceptions next time!

Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader Water Play Provocation: Adventures of a Subversive Reader

Provocations are experiences offered to a child, based on past knowledge or interests, with the aim of extending the child’s ideas.

Our provocations present a small range of materials – some which are part of Squirm’s every day life, others which are new to him, or only known from other provocations. The aim is to present them in a thoughtful and (hopefully) attractive way, and to allow Squirm to investigate them in any manner he wishes. These provocations will remain in place for around a week, and then a new provocation will be presented.

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