Water, one of the most important things to sustain life on Earth, follows a pattern which repeats over and over. The water cycle or pattern includes evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection.
These seem like big words for younger children, but they will get them. Sing the Water Cycle song (we’ll sing it for you at voicethread) with younger children and you’ll be amazed at how quickly they catch on!
A lot of the Earth is covered with water. Water that is heated by the sun escapes as vapor which is called evaporation. You can boil a small amount of water and let the children observe the steam escape. Vapor then packs together to form clouds, which is called condensation. Even though clouds are always present in the sky, it will not rain until the clouds become so heavy that they can no longer hold the water. This heaviness creates rain which falls from the sky as precipitation. The rain falls into our lakes, rivers, and oceans. Where it is COLD, the rain falls as snow or ice. The pattern then starts over.
1) Put 1/2 cup water in a sandwich size plastic bag. Explain to the children that it will help to find out where water goes. Hang it with some tape on a window in the sunlight. Wait and see what the sun does to the water in the bag. After the bag has hung for a few hours, look on the sides of the bag for condensation. Tell the children that clouds are made of little drops of water like those on the bag. After condensation has occurred, hold some ice against the top of the bag and then additional water should
condense. Some water will drop from the top of the bag while the children watch. The cool air high in the sky does the job of the ice and makes rain fall out of the real clouds like we can make “rain” fall from our pretend clouds.
2) Materials: one cotton ball for every child and some containers filled with about an 1/2 inch of cold water. Give each child a cotton ball to hold. Tell them to pretend that they are holding a cloud. Let the children dip the cotton ball into the water to saturate it, and then gently squeeze the water out. *Our only RULE…it cannot RAIN on our own heads or those of our friends while IN the classroom:) Take a bucket outside for a Spring activity and let the RAIN come down!
With ALL the rain and storms, it is a great time to introduce the Water Cycle to your kids!