Water is one of the four basic elements of our world (if you believe ancient philosophers and astrologers). Certainly, along with air, fire and earth, water is essential to life.
Talking about different forms of water and explaining its role in sustaining life is not as difficult as you might think. For example, use a variety of simple containers, old PVC pipes, a hose and a watering can to create lakes, waterfalls, oceans (add a little salt), rivers, ponds, rain, puddles and even a beach (collect some sand and seaweed for the full effect).
Not only is this activity really good fun, but making a rain gauge can be a starting point for discussion about the need to conserve water.
To make one, you will need:
• an old clear plastic cup or PET plastic bottle cut in half
• a few large thick rubber bands
• a large sturdy and straight stick
• a ruler
• a permanent marker
Mark intervals of millimetres on the side of the cup or bottle or simply attach the ruler with a rubber band. Then attach it to the stick using more rubber bands. Insert the stick firmly into an open spot in your garden where nothing will overhang the gauge.
Help your child to devise a chart on which he can track rainfall over the year and remind him to check his rain gauge after rain. (He may well become quite the rain ‘watcher’ and run to the gauge as soon as the rain has stopped!) A perpetual calendar (one without the days of the week printed) can also be used as a chart, but it’s much more fun for children to devise their own with your help.
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Extract from Small Fry Outdoors: Inspiration for being outdoors with kids Susie Cameron, Caroline Webster & Katrina Crook. RRP$24.95.
Photography by Katrina Crook