Self directed play

Today as I filled up the small pool with water I knew it would be the focus of the day's activities. It was simple: there was water in a gigantic container, plastic frogs, pieces of bark and some sponges, cut to be lily pads. This had all begun as last week one of the children had brought in tadpoles and frogs for the nature table.
So my concept was a frog pond.
What happened was amazing: some children jumped the frogs into the pool, some used the sponges to start cleaning the pond and then all the other equipment outside; 2 boys started filling a plastic container with the water; another emptied the bubble blowing solution into the "pond"; bubbly water became a creek flowing down the playground; water was put in the back of the plastic bike which was then transformed into another frog pond.  Open ended play, lateral thinking and creativity abounded, the children were busy, engaged and active and very wet. Luckily it was beautiful sunny day.
The teachers observed from afar without offering any guidance or support; the children had freedom to make choices and learn from their mistakes; they made their own rules and established their own boundaries. The activity only stopped as it was morning tea time. Everyone had joined in and everyone was very happy.
“You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” Plato

Photo credit of sensory table is Kids and Baby Design Ideas

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