Using “A Watery World” Activities

Think carefully about whether this activity is right for your school. You will need to visit a puddle with standing water, or a pond, stream, lake, or beach, so this simply may not work in some locations. If finding the right place to visit is not an option, then enjoy the other water activity (Water/Rain) with your children.

If you are able to carry out this activity, it will be impactful for children to see how the ecosystem of the watery place compare to the ecosystem of their school yard. This will help children develop a sense of place and know their surroundings more completely.

Before you set out on your trip, discuss the guidelines for keeping safe around water.

Encourage children to use their senses, especially near the water. Often smells are stronger there, and the sense of smell is linked to forming powerful memories.

If possible, bring dip nets with fine mesh to skim water and/or buckets to temporarily collect small amounts of water and see what you can find.

Be sure to model respect for the natural world by returning the water, and any insects children have collected, back to where they were found.

Don’t worry if you cannot identify all the insects and plants children are finding. This can be part of the learning process. Children can make up their own names to help them remember and may be interested in looking up the scientific names later. This can be a great link to literacy!

A Watery World (part one)

Can you find a pond or stream near your school? Watery worlds are fun, interesting places to observe. Water in ponds or streams can be home for many living things. What do you notice in the watery world you are visiting?

Do you see anything moving? One way to observe is by using a dip net. Try dipping in an area near weeds or plants because they make good hiding spots for creatures.

You might want to look at the water with a magnifying glass. Does it help you find living things? Try sketching what you are seeing.

Can you move your body the same way the creature you found was moving? Be respectful of what you see and be sure it gets back to its home!

A Watery World (part two)

Are there plants growing in or nearby the water? Why do you think the plants grow there?

Did you guess that the water is helping the plants grow? Did you know the plants are also helping the water? Roots help clean the water. A great thing about plants is that they help clean the water we all need! Different types of plants need different amounts of water.

Nature has provided special plants called native plants that belong in the space where they grow best. They use just the right amount of rain water that naturally falls here.

 Talk About It

Access to clean, fresh water is a pressing problem around the world. There is no “new” water and every time we use it there is a chance it will be polluted. Fish, animals, and people all need to survive. Most of us take the water we use for granted, but fresh water isn’t easy to come by. The water we drink is the same as the water the dinosaurs drank.

Talk with children about choosing some plants for your schoolyard that are “native” to their surroundings. Ask them what they think the word “native” means and discuss it together.

Let children know that native plants are mostly happy with the amount of rain that falls naturally in your area. That means they don’t need us to give them lots of extra water. (That helps us all save water!)

Fun Facts About Water

Less than one percent of all the water in the world can be used for drinking. Nearly 97% is salty, and the other two percent is frozen in ice caps and glaciers.

The percentage of water on earth is approximately the same percentage of water in your brain (75%). An elephant and a chicken are also made up of about 75% water.

Letting a faucet run for 5 minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60 watt light bulb run for 14 hours.

Some plants have changed over time to use very little water. Cacti, with thick stems, and leaves reduced to spines, are one of the best examples of plants well adapated to extremely dry environments.

Check out this great Michigan water resource! www.miwaterstewardship.org

*Content of article adapted from worldforumfoundation.org/nature, A toolkit for Early Childhood Programs

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