The Water Cycle
This activity is a simple and fun way to introduce kids to the Water Cycle! The water cycle describes how water evaporates from the surface of the earth, rises into the atmosphere, cools and condenses into rain or snow in clouds, and falls again to the surface as precipitation. Gather the kiddos and watch this great video by SciShow Kids to see the cycle in action. Afterwards you can do the activity below to extend their comprehension of the cycle. If you want to get fancy, you can even add in different colored food dyes to make rainbow rain!
Children will learn about the water cycle by watching what happens when clouds (shaving cream) become heavy with water (food coloring) and precipitation occurs! They will also be developing important skills like:
- fine motor skills (dropping the food coloring into the shaving cream uses a similar grip to holding a pencil)
- making observations and predictions (use the observation sheets for this – what do you think will happen? What did you see/observe? What did you learn?)
- cooperation (working together)
- number concepts (the numbers in the instructions, ordinal places (1st, 2nd, etc.) in following the steps)
- building vocabulary (water cycle, precipitation, accumulation, condensation, etc.)
- Plastic cup
- Shaving cream (FOAM)
- Food coloring
- Fill the cup with water, leaving about two (2) inches at the top.
- Squirt the shaving cream onto the top of the water, making “clouds.”
- Use the pipette to suck up food dye. Squeeze drops of food coloring on top of the shaving cream. You will need to use several drops in order for it to come through the shaving cream.
Books about the water cycle:
All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson
The Magic School Bus Wet All Over by Patricia Relf
A Cool Drink of Water by Barbara Kerley
The Snowflake: A Water Cycle Story by Neil Waldman
Down Comes the Rain (Let’s Read and Learn about Science) by Franklyn Branley