Children with speech and language issues, and those with sensory issues can often struggle with understanding about the world around them. In the Early Years Foundstion Stage, which is the educational framework followed from 0-5 year olds, learning about the environment around them is a specific area of learning.
It might not seem important to some. After all surely things like speech, social skills and learning your ABCs are what’s needed for school? Well, yes and no. All the areas of learning have their place. Understanding the world is linked to so much other learning. It brings in new words and concepts, it offers physical movement and exploration and it encourage listening, touch and even taste at times.
The advantage of learning about the natural world is that is not prescriptive. It’s more open and less likely to be able to ‘get it wrong’. For J, he liked to explore and fiddle and see what happens. He likes to listen to sounds and to run around. He likes to spin and make things move.
Today we had awful weather. We had thunder, lightening and a large downpour. J wanted to go outside so I strapped on his winter suit and wellies and opened the backdoor. There’s a saying in early years…
‘There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing’.
So, I wanted to use this British weather to explore The World with J.
- Listening to the thunder.
Every time we saw a flash of lightening we would count together until we heard the thunder. J soon clicked that thunder follows lightening and that they are linked. He started to call out “thunder”. I explained that the thunder came from the clouds in the sky. So we watched the clouds.
- Jumping in puddles
This is one of J’s favourite things to do. He was finding various puddles and would jump up and down. He soon noticed that the deeper puddles made a better splash. This is a great maths skill…to recognise capacity and effect of this. It also tires him it nicely for bedtime.
- Collecting water
We set up pots around the garden. This was a bit too ‘still’ for J though so he then walked around trying to catch the rain himself. His bowl started to fill up within minutes so he was tipping the water into the back of his Cozy Coupe. He got to see the effect of rain and to see that it’s wet and it’s water. It sounds daft but how many young children really know what rain is? How many are too busy covered in the rain cover in the buggy or hurried indoors once the sky turns dark?
- Looking after the plants
J went around watching the plants and flowers. He saw the grass getting wet, felt the flowers and herbs. I explained that they were drinking the water so they could grow bigger. Children need to learn that plants are living and need the same basic care that we need too. Hopefully tomorrow I can show him the effects of all the rain as the plants should all be beautiful and happy.
Other ideas for rainy play that we are going to try are:
- Food colouring in the puddles and bowls of water we collect.
- Take out the sieves and tea strainers from the kitchen to explore the puddles.
- Take out chalk and draw on the floor to see how it changes the texture and colours.
- Set up tarpaulin like a tent so we can sit underneath and listen to the sound of the rain.
There’s lots that rain can offer for all children and now we have headed into Autumn we will certainly get a lot of opportunity to explore this wet weather.
What do you like to do in the rain? Do you let your children go out or prefer to hide indoors? I’d love to know your views ⛈