'Play Dates' make water science fun

'Play Dates' make water science fun
August 15, 2017

You’re sitting at a table between two things that immediately grab children’s attention. One is a water table with fountains, puddles they can splash and a whirlpool that looks like a tornado in a jar.

The other thing that draws kids’ attention isn’t quite as spectacular, but it’s almost as alluring to many children: rows of air-powered hand dryers fastened to the wall at a height just right for little hands.

So, with these distractions all around you, how do you get kids to visit your table?

Science lessons may seem like an unlikely solution, but that’s exactly what Judy Carney, a Louisville Water contract educator, offered last month at the Kentucky Science Center. Carney provided hands-on lessons and fun demonstrations of water science.

For instance, she dropped more than 20 pennies in a full cup of water, but the H2O didn’t overflow. Then Carney explained the concept of surface tension in kid-friendly terms.

The lessons were part of a series of “Play Dates” at the Science Center. Once a month, from 5 to 7 p.m., a Louisville Water educator offers the interactive lessons near the water table. Play Dates for the rest of the year will be offered on August 17, September 21, October 19, November 16 and December 21.

The Louisville Water Foundation funded a new water table for the Science Center last year. Louisville Water engineers also helped design and build the center’s original table nearly 20 years ago.

For the new design, a group of local children worked with designers to offer their input on what they’d like to see in the new table, and the finished product includes many of their ideas: pipes, gadgets and, of course, lots of moving water.