THE WATER CYCLE for PRESCHOOL!
Water, one of the most important things to sustain life on Earth, follows a pattern which repeats over and over. The water cycle includes evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. While those terms seem like BIG WORDS for preschoolers, you’ll be amazed at how quickly young children learn through music and play!
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 in the form of rain. 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 again.
- OBSERVING CONDENSATION: 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 condensation will occur. 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.
- CLOUDS THAT RAIN: 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!
For more weather-related activities, see the Spring Weather Thematic Unit here on the blog!