I’m sitting at my dining room table watching the rain pour down so hard that I can’t see out of my windows and although it is 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the sky is as black as the night. My kids used to love to play in the warm rain and they especially loved to play in a sun shower. We ran outside and splashed in the puddles and if it rained enough, we brought out the shampoo and washed our hair. Inevitably, the rain would subside just enough that we could never get the soap out of our hair, but it was totally worth it.
These memories remind me that rain, just like the snow, is one of nature’s ways of providing us with an interesting topic to explore. How can we create curriculum using the spring rains and support mathematical understandings in meaningful ways with young children? I usually see preschoolers talk about the weather during circle time. One of the children is a weather person. S/he walks over to the window and reports the day’s weather and sometimes s/he gets to mark the weather on a graph or the calendar. Most often, it is an unremarkable part of the morning circle.
If we get a good amount of spring rains this month, how about shaking it up and creating an opportunity for a real exploration of rain? If it is warm (and there isn’t any thunder and lightning) take the children outside to play in the rain. This will require some planning in terms of rain coats, rubber boots, and extra sets of clothes. I guarantee the children will find new ways of exploring the same old space.
It might also be interesting to place different sized receptacles outside and near a window so the children can watch the rain accumulate. You can create a graph so they can mark “how much” rain is in each container throughout the day. This will also allow them to see that even though the rain is falling into the containers in the same way, the different sizes and shapes of the containers will make a difference about how high the water rises.
Next week, I will write about another exploration of rain that you can try this month. Let us know what you think or if you have another idea about rain and math.