Below is a video of a child pouring water down the ramp. As the water flows over the knobs and off the ramp into the tub, there is a zen-like aural component created by the action of the water.
Pouring Water Down the Water Ramp from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
So I am not so sure about how much the children noticed the dispersal pattern. That is not big deal because that was my agenda. I do think there was also a certain attraction to the sound the water made rippling down the ramp. Again, though, that was my agenda. The driving force behind the children's play came from the children themselves because they have this natural compulsion to pour water down ramps. (See Axiom #4 on the right column of this blog.)
One thing that I have learned over the years is that inclines connect children in play. When someone pours at the top, there is often someone positioned at the bottom to receive the pour. Below is an example of this. One child poured water down the ramp. The water slowly worked its way around the knobs to the bottom. When the water reached the bottom of the ramp, the child kneeling next to the tub started rubbing the water on the board with her soapy hand.
Knob ramp play from Thomas Bedard on Vimeo.
How intentional was this play connection? The child at the bottom clearly waited for the child on top to pour the water down the ramp. The child on the top seemed more interested in pouring and watching the water flow down the ramp. Maybe there are different degrees of play connections in any given play episode. And maybe those different degrees of play connections help move the play along until the play morphs into something else or simply runs it course.
What do you think?