Thursday, July 28, 2011

Water Cycle for Preschoolers

I decided to do two science experiments for "A" to better understand the water cycle. One of the science experiments took 24 hours for observation so I prepped it yesterday. I filled two water bottles out 2/3 full. I made a mark on the bottle so we could make sure they were both at the same level. I explained to "A" that in every experiment everything is exactly the same but one thing, that is called the variable. In this experiment the variable would be the lid. One water bottle we would put the lid on and the other one we would leave off. Next we set both bottles outside in the sun for 24 hours. The next morning I had him infer what was happening. I asked him why he thought the bottle without the lid would be a little lower than the one with the lid? He wasn't sure but thought "something may have drunk a sip". Then I asked him what all the drops on the inside of the bottle above the water could be? He guessed rain! Ahh-but how would the rain get in the bottle with the lid on it?
Bottles yesterday
Bottles 24 hours later. Notice water droplets at top.
Next we watched a free book being read aloud on the computer called Drippy the Raindrop: To the Mountain and Back. To read this great book about the water cycle created for preschoolers go here.  Once the Drippy book was over I had "A" color a simple water cycle at Kidzone.

After getting a better understanding about the water cycle we did a cotton ball experiment found at first-school. I gave "A" a cotton ball and said since we are talking about the watercycle what do he think the cottonball would be in the story? At first he said Drippy the raindrop. I redirected and asked if the cottonball looked like a raindrop. Once he said no he then figured out it was a cloud. I asked him to tell me what it felt like:"soft, squishy, light". Then he gently put it over a small bowl of water (our ocean). It was important he didn't submerge it. The cotton slowly would fill with water. Putting the cottonball down was to represent evaportation and as it filled with water condensation. Once the cottonball was filled I asked him to describe it again:"wet,cold and heavier". When the ball started to drip I asked him what that would be in the water cycle. He correctly said rain. I asked him why he thought it would drip water? I was hoping he would say that the cottonball was too full of water but it took him a while to get there. After we watched the precipation I asked where the drops were going? Since they were going back into our bowl (ocean) the water was doing the next stage-collection.
Getting ready to "evaporate"
Since we understood the cycle we went back and talked about our two water bottles. I wanted to see if he wanted to change his guess of what the water droplets were. He then said the "rain was trying to get back into the clouds". Right! It was water that had evaporated. So then why now would he think that the water without a lid had a little less water than the one with the lid? He then figured that those "raindrops could leave the bottle and reach the clouds". YAY!!!
Our science notes from the experiments for his science journal (along with water cycle coloring).


  1. What a GREAT way to teach the water cycle! I love the step-by-step activities you did. You've really made the process easier to understand and fun too. Thanks for sharing (and for listing my blog in your blog roll, too!).

  2. Great activities! We did the "water cycle" back in April (April Showers, May Flowers ;)

    Thank you for sharing at the Smart Summer Challenge!