Water rehydrates, cools, refreshes, cleanses and provides relief from the heat.
The recent hot weather we have experienced has been a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of water to all living things.
The effect of the heat that we feel is also experienced by our plant and animal life.
Promote water awareness by involving children in watering the plants in your garden. In the warmer months, late afternoon or early evening is the best time to water, as this will give plants time to absorb the water overnight, before the heat of the day. In the cooler months it is better to water in the morning, so that excess water can evaporate to prevent damaging fungal or bacterial growth.
Plants suffer heat stress and this is very evident on hot days – point out the signs to children. Show them how watering the plants well around the base so it is absorbed by the roots, will help plants to perk up again and provide energy.
Remember that our older established trees and plants require water too, even though the signs may be less evident – this will enhance their resilience, help them to flourish and optimise their health.
You could also place containers or ‘baths’ of water in the yard for birds and other animal life to cool off in the heat. Place containers in a shaded spot so that the water remains cool.
Water wise tip:
Ask children to pour any left over water from their school drink bottle around your garden plants, rather than down the sink. This will benefit the plants, and help children to develop mindfulness about water saving.
Children’s Water Activity: Rainwater Gauge
An activity to help demonstrate water conservation to your children is to create a simple Rain Gauge. This is a great tool for collecting water and measuring the amount.
All you will require is a glass jar, a funnel, a permanent marker, a ruler and some masking tape.
Children will be able to see how rainwater is collected while watching their jar start to fill when it rains. They will be able to compare measurements taken when it hasn’t rained for a while, and observe how dry it is. Ask them questions: Where does our water come from? What happens to our water level when we use water or it hasn’t rained?
- Using a clean glass jar, make measurement markings up the side of your jar using your ruler as a guide.
- Insert the funnel into the top of the jar – you may like to use masking tape to secure the funnel. The funnel helps to maximise collection of water by concentrating the flow into the jar.
- Place your jar in a clear space away from trees or other areas of water run off or drips, so you are collecting only falling rain into the jar.
- Provide children with a record sheet or chart – you could monitor rainfall over a certain period of time and record your findings everyday. Create a graph to record this information.
You may like to set up a few rain gauges in your back yard or playground to see if there is a difference in the various locations. You could then calculate an average.
There are many ways to extend on this activity and foster an awareness in children from an early age that water is not a resource we have in abundance, and that it should be used wisely.