The Spectacular Science Behind Puddle Stomping

Science Behind Puddle Stomping

Article from 1000 Hours Outside by Virginia Yurich.

Cornerstone allows ample time for our students to be outside on our 3 acres of nature exploration! Our outdoor classroom provides many of these balancing needs.

Have you heard that some schools have banned the good ol’ fashioned game of tag? Unknowingly, and certainly not on purpose, children are “tagging” each other with too much force, causing playmates to get hurt during the game.

It’s easy to forget about the little things kids need to learn in childhood beyond book work. There’s so much focus on the ABCs and the 123s that sometimes the developmental things, like how much force to use during certain activities, slip by us. These untestable skills hold their merit. As adults we need to know how much force is acceptable in a hand-shake and how that force differs from what’s needed to use a hammer. These are not things we innately know. They must be learned!

But how do we learn how much force to use anyways? Throughout childhood, kids will become adept at using their bodies correctly through interaction with the environment. Through the push and pull and the give and the take children experience out in nature, they will naturally develop all of their EIGHT senses. Eight you say? Aren’t there only five? I know I only learned about five in school, but it turns out there are three more and they all have super cool names.

The vestibular sense, or balance sense, helps us know where our bodies are in space. Proprioception helps us know where our limbs and body parts are without looking at them. And enteroception is the sense we have that tells us what is going on inside of our bodies.

When children splash in puddles they are doing grand experimentation and developing their proprioception sense, which regulates how much force is needed. Watching a children play in puddles is fascinating! Through sensory feedback they are answering question after question. What happens if I swoop my legs through this puddle slowly? What if I move my legs faster? If I stomp lightly, how high will the water splash? What if I stomp harder? What will happen if I jump with both feet from a small curb? Toddler science is remarkably impactful on sensory development!

Children are naturally inclined toward the things in nature that are helpful for their development. Puddles are readily available! Nature doesn’t skimp! Get a pair of tall rain boots or go barefoot! Bring a towel and some extra pants and underwear along. Clothes are washable. Don’t miss the chance for your child to learn, through experience and experimentation, the delicate balance of how much force to use! Maybe in time, we can bring that good ole’ fashioned game of tag back!