Harry and the water tray

Four year old Harry is playing at the water table with a small group of children. He has a toy car and containers. The practitioner is near by. He shows particular interest in what's happening to his car and wants to communicate this to the practitioner. There is minor conflict over resources. To Find out more about Harry and his specific needs click here to watch this introductory video

Good for looking at

  • Send - Speech and language disorder
  • Playing and exploring
  • Socialising
  • Communication
  • Language
  • Fine motor play
  • Effective adult support
  • Water play
  • Object play
  • Understanding the world

What do you notice about:

  •  What cues can you see that show what Harry is interested in? (Look out for non-verbal and body language as well as spoken language)
  • How is Harry learning? Which areas of development, engagement and characteristics of learning can you observe?
  • What the adult does to support and tune in to Harry’s specific needs?
  • How the provision supports Harry?


What did you recognise about:

  • How Harry was was communicating?
  • How Harry is learning? Did you see any evidence of the characteristics of effective learning?
  • The areas of learning and development that were covered through his play activity?
  • The adult’s role – how they support Harry’s specific needs?
  • The importance of the environment and the materials?


What would you do next?

  • How could you extend Harry’s learning?
  • How might you share Harry’s experience with his parents/carers?
  • Did watching the clip help you notice any particular strengths or weaknesses that you might have when trying to support children’s specific needs during their play? Could you help other with something you’re good at? Or find someone to support you with an area you find difficult?
  • Could you suggest a way of encouraging this kind of messy water play in your own setting?
  • How do you ensure that all children get to access this type of play in your setting?