Lately, we've been spending a goodly sum of our time in the front yard playing in the rocks. Silas is building quite an elaborate fairy house and garden (complete with pond, bridge, and stable for fairy animals) and Theda loves to splash in a little pan of water.
She is deep in an enclosing schema and much of her self-directed play consists of putting things into things. I often give her a pile of objects and an empty container and one by one she will put each thing into the basket. Her focus is amazing to watch; she is very determined that all things must be put away.
When giving her a little pan of water outside, I didn't give too much thought to the set-up - just some water with a spoon and a little cup - but she developed a little game for herself that she's been playing over and over for days now. One at a time, she'll pick up a rock, toss it into the water, and then scoop it up with the spoon. Then, very carefully, she removes the rock from the spoon with her other hand and brings the spoon all the way up to her mouth to drink whatever water is left in it. She will then either toss that rock and begin the process anew with a different rock, or she will place the rock back onto the spoon and dump it back into the pan of water. Over and over and over again.
There's also a fair amount of splashing and, of course, dumping going on too. But, this little game of hers, that she comes back to again and again, seems to be fulfilling a need for her. What exactly she's learning about the world or what skill she is trying to master I'm not quite sure, but it's not really important that I do. I trust that she knows best and am happy to watch her work.