Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Smart Beavers Water Play and Engineering for Preschoolers

Build a Dam Like a Beaver

We recycled a plastic table cloth to build a river in the yard. It turned out to be a fun engineering activity, river exploration, and a water play. We were able to explored the water flow hands-on: kids adjusted the "river" easily for different outcomes with this quick set up. They attempted to engineer a simple dam with supplies at hand - a great problem solving activity since the effectiveness of their structures was easy to see.

Our beaver craft can be found here: Happy Beaver Earth Day Craft for Kids from My Bright Firefly.

Beaver books we loved (Amazon affiliate links):
Little Beaver and the Echo
Turtle's Race with Beaver
Beaver Is Lost

Beavers Water Play

To create a river, we rolled four pool noodles in a table cloth and secured with tape.

A small choice of toys and supplies was offered for explorations and building: plastic fish and ducks, rocks, sticks, soil with clay, three buckets of different sizes, two watering cans of different sizes and shapes, a gardening hose, portable toy water wheels.

Water wheels are optional for these activities. Amazon affiliate links:
Small World Toys Sand & Water - Water Wheel
American Plastic Toy Sand and Water Wheel

Engineering challenge: How to position the pool noodles to keep the water inside?

Engineering challenge: How to position the river for the fastest flow of water? For the slowest flow? For creating a lake with the water flow underground? (We tried different angles of river on the grassy slope.)

Beavers' activities change the water habitat. Kids played with plastic fish and ducks helping them down the stream.

Engineering challenge: create a water flow for the ducks to go down the stream.

Engineering challenge: create a dam that can stop the flow of water and form a small "pond" for beavers.

It was an interesting process of attempting to stop the flow of water using rocks, sticks, leaves, and soil with clay. It is a process since building the dam is not an easy task. Two of the best solutions for the day were found:

  1. Position the river in a V shape to collect the water at the bottom of the "V".
  2. Place a bucket inside the river, place the ducks inside, and start filling the bucket with water until the overflow will send ducks down the river (or just dump the bucket: whichever comes first).
I call it a success for the day!

A to Z Animal Series

For the month of June, kid bloggers are working together to bring you A to Z Animal series. Some fun ideas for kids activities and crafts are coming!

Albatross, Beaver, Crab, Duck, Elephant, and so on. You can find all the links here: A to Z Animal Series from Teach Me Mommy.

The first article in the Animal series is The Bird with the Biggest Wingspan: Albatross Craft from Preschool Powol Packets.

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