Whenever I visit Pakistan, I try and bring back as many books in Urdu as possible. We have collected many Urdu books over the years for adults and children. My daughter picked this particular one “Teyrna aur Dobna kya hai” published by Ferozsons Ltd. one night for bedtime. This is definitely not a bedtime story and really not for her age. But we loved looking at the pictures and talking about what was happening. She liked one of the suggested activities of “sink and float”. Her montessori preschool also has a similar activity so she wanted to try it in Urdu.
By doing this activity we learnt which objects sink and which ones float. We also learnt the Urdu names for many items and how some like safety pins and pencils are called the same in both Urdu and English. It was a fun afternoon of learning and lots of water splashing.
We set up three tables. On the first we put a jug full of water and then collected some items around the house we could use for our experiment. The book had some suggestions. I tried to give my daughter the Urdu name and let her find the item around the house to ingrain it in her mind. We started off with: sika (coin) , malta (orange), anda (egg), pencil, chamcha (spoon), safety pin, mitti ka piyala (bowl of clay), seeshay ke boatal (glass bottle) and dice. The second table had a bowl of water that we filled up with the jug.
The third table had a sheet of paper where the items could be categorized as “tayrte hai” (floats) or “doobte hai” (sinks). We started off with two empty columns. One by one she put the items in the water and observed whether they float or sink. Then she took them out of the water, dried them with a kitchen towel and placed them on the sheet in the Sink or Float column.
Once we got going, we added lots of items from the outdoors or the toy room like the plastic spiderman. Let your children have fun with this and experiment with as many items as they like. Ideally they will be so engaged in this on their own that you can step away and supervise from a distance while you take care of a chore (or enjoy that cup of chai that’s already cold). Children are pretty smart once left to their own devices. I asked my daughter how we could make spiderman float instead of sink and she worked out that putting him in the glass bottle got him to float. There can be many variations to this simple activity and many learning opportunities to increase Urdu vocabulary, learn about science and to think of opposites.
I’m sure I don’t need to remind any mom that an activity that involves water also involves many splashes and accidents. So keep lots of towels handy and make sure they are playing on a surface that can be easily wiped. Otherwise let them be children and have fun!