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Sensory Play – Water


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When thinking about sensory experiences, I wonder how often water comes to mind. It’s an ever changing sensory experience. Water invites investigation and discovery. It can be odorless or have a distinct smell. Think of hot sulfur springs. The water from these naturally occurring mineral springs has a distinct aroma.

Not all water looks the same either. Some is clear, and although the presence of bacteria and parasites might render it otherwise, we associate clarity with purity. That’s a lesson we’d all do well to learn, particularly if we’re hiking, camping or backpacking in the high country.

Mud puddles invite active play – splashing and stomping – and teach us what happens when water and soil mix. Even muddy water varies in color; mud from red clay soil is quite different in color and texture from mud from alluvial soil. Taking samples, making slides, and looking at water from different sources gives children insight into the complexity of water. It’s H2O and more, and sometimes looks deceive.

Water from different sources tastes different. Consider bottled water. Each reflects its source; minerals in the water create its taste. Still and effervescent waters taste different too. A splash of juice, fresh fruit, a slice of cucumber transform water. Time for a test tasting. Experiment and discover.

Who doesn’t slow down and relax when hearing the soothing sound of water in a fountain? Contrast that to the sound of rain drops pelting a window or the roar of waves crashing on giant boulders. Water has the power to soothe and to terrify. Ask anyone who’s survived a flood or heard raging water too close for comfort.

Certainly we feel water: splashing, spraying, pouring all produce different feelings. A bath feels different from a shower. Cold water feels different on our skin than warm. Pouring in bath salts changes the feel of bath water. Another opportunity to explore and discover.

Just remember to conserve this vital, finite resource.

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