Learning From a Flooded Driveway

Several mornings ago, we awoke to warmer air and blue skies! Was the snow finally melting? Was winter finally leaving New Hampshire?

When snow melts in April, the excess water that is not sucked into the earth forms puddles and miniature rivers. Dirt absorbs the water and becomes thick, dark mud. Mud is fun, but becomes problematic when your driveway is not paved or layered with gravel. Mud is fun, except when the mini van wheels turn, spitting brown splatter up into the air and you find yourself stuck and running late for preschool!

When we returned home, I decided that we needed to take action! The sun was quite warm and I was certain that with a little help, our flooded driveway could be drained by the end of the day!

learning from a flooded drivewayI helped the boys put on their boots and armed them with shovels. I explained that we needed to create rivers and dams to force the water off of the driveway. However, I didn’t tell them how to do this. I wanted to give them the opportunity to learn by doing.

March 29 090The boys simply began by digging furiously! I let them do so for several minutes, then asked them to stop and survey their work. Were they helping the water leave the driveway? If not, could they think of any ideas that would help us reach our goal?

Owen thought that he would try building a dam. “Good idea, Owen!” said Colin. “That will help the water stay over there.”

March 29 157Colin began shoveling away mud, then stood back to survey his work.

March 29 155He noticed that the water flowed from high ground to low ground. “I make it low, Mommy. Then the river gets clogged up and I have to fix it.”

“That’s because when water flows, it carries and deposits sediment (bits of dirt and rock) with it as it flows.”

March 29 148The boys and I dug most of the afternoon.

March 29 161They learned about water flow, dams, bridges, floating and sinking all from an afternoon of playing with mud, water, and shovels!March 29 176

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3 thoughts on “Learning From a Flooded Driveway

  1. Oh gosh. I remember doing that every year growing up in Western NY. I’m sure I learned a lot too, but mostly I just remember the car always being stuck! 😉

    • Putting his black “Bat Man” cape on is the first thing he does in the morning. He wears it all day long, and sometimes sneaks it back on after I’ve put him to bed at night. When we check on him before going to bed ourselves, he is often sleeping in his cape.

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