These activities offer options for continuing the learning in this unit. Whether your curriculum is skill-based or more open-ended, select the activities that are most appropriate for the children in your classroom. The Writing Spot is primarily a writing program, but writing can be integrated throughout your curriculum—in art, drama, reading, math, and science.
Have children pantomime activities in which they use water. As the other children guess the activity, write a label for it. Make the labels available to the children to use as prompts for watercolor paintings. Post the paintings with the labels for all to enjoy, possibly including them in a bulletin-board display about water.
Make lists about life in puddles, ponds, rivers, lakes, and oceans.
Bodies of water are usually full of animal and plant life. Read some books related to this topic. Then write the names of the bodies of water on the board or chart paper. With children’s input, list animals and plants that live in each body of water. Encourage children to continue adding to the lists.
Invite children to make underwater scenes with crayons. Encourage them to use bright, bold colors (show them books or magazines with colorful underwater scenes). Show the children how to give their pictures an underwater look by brushing blue and green watercolor paint across the whole colorful scene. Have them label some of the elements of their pictures.
Make a class book about water.
Discuss how people, plants, and animals all need water. Talk about how pets need fresh water. What about the birds outside? Where do they find water to drink and bathe in? And what about plants? How do they get a drink? Encourage children to find answers to their questions and contribute to a class book called Everything Needs Water.
Write about and draw water sports.
Discuss the different forms of water: rain, fog, snow, sleet, ice, steam, and so on. Then talk about winter “water” sports: skiing, skating, sledding. Invite children to draw pictures and write stories about ways to have fun with different forms of water: swimming, ice-skating, snowboarding, playing in water parks, and so on.
With the children, make a long list of the ways in which we use water. Some examples are washing the car, doing dishes, taking a bath or shower, boiling eggs, cooling off in the summertime, giving the dog a bath. Have children draw a picture of one way to use water and then add a sentence or two about the picture.
Plan special rainy-day activities.
Talk about the sounds rain makes when it hits windowpanes, roofs, cars, sidewalks, and so on. Write a class poem about it. Talk and write about what water looks like, tastes like, feels like. Fill glass jars with varying levels of water and make music by gently tapping on the glass. Work with the school librarian to have a ready list of rainy-day books available whenever you need them. Place a rain gauge outside the classroom window and keep a chart throughout the year about the amount of rain that falls.
Look at pictures of rainbows and talk about how they are made up of water droplets. Talk about the rainbow’s colors and the story of a pot of gold being at a rainbow’s end. Play the song “Over the Rainbow,” and have children write about what they think imaginary life is like on the other side of the rainbow.
Discuss how temperature affects water. Put a cup of water in the freezer and see what happens. Talk about how temperature causes rain to change to ice, sleet, and snow. Many children have never seen or played on ice or snow. Find photographs on the Internet of ice sculptures and winter carnivals. Show videos of winter sports, figure skating, and snowman building. Invite children to write stories, songs, and poems about their favorite winter activities.
Investigate oceans and tide pools.
When you discuss the ocean, explain what a tide pool is and show pictures of some of the animals that live there. Have children complete a picture of a tide pool by drawing some of the animals, modeled from the pictures you’ve shown. Have them label the tide pool and one of the things inside.
Make posters about keeping our lakes, rivers, ponds, and streams clean.
Discuss the importance of conserving clean water. Make posters about keeping water clean and fresh for people and animals. See if the local wastewater treatment plant has tours (or videos) for young children.
Pretend to be explorers sailing on the sea.
Introduce children to famous explorers like Columbus. Explain that many people sailed across the oceans looking for new places to explore. Have children imagine that they have sailed across the sea and discovered a new land. Do a shared writing about what they might find there.