A water cycle experiment is one of the easiest experiment you can do with your kids at home.
It’s also a great starting point for a discussion about the wonders of nature and of course, the science behind it.
We’ve made a few water cycle experiments at home, but the one below is the one I like best when it’s a hot summer’s day.
You Will Need:
- 1 big bowl
- 1 small bowl
- blue food coloring
- sand, shells, or pebbles
Table of Contents
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Let’s Recreate the Earth
First, arrange the rocks or sand in the bottom of the bowl. We are recreating the earth here. My son had a lot of fun arranging the shells in the bowl.
Next, place the small bowl in the big bowl surrounded by the land. Add more rocks or sand to get the smaller bowl in place to make your mini earth look lovely and nice. Children love doing this too and that’s always a good way to get them all excited about this water cycle experiment.
Now Add the mound of playdough for the mountain. Make it as big and as pretty as you want. You can even add lego characters and leaves and twigs to make it more realistic.
Get the Sea Water Ready
Once you’re done, put it aside and mix a bowl of water with some blue food coloring. This is going to be the ocean.
Once the water has turned blue, pour it on your earth in a bowl. Pour it slowly until the water is about a half of a centimeter below the rim of the small bowl.
The Power of The Sun In Action
Next cover it with saran wrap and put a rock or rocks right where the smaller bowl is. This makes a dip in the surface to help the water droplets fall straight into the small bowl.
Now put the bowl outside in the sun. This is the quickest way to see the water cycle.
However, you can also use a lamp as the sun if you’re doing this indoors. It will take a longer time to see the water cycle. So if you’re working with younger kids, bear this in mind (or you can do another activity or check out a science kit while waiting!)
After an hour two in the hot sun, the sea water from the big bowl will make water droplets on the saran wrap. This represents the clouds.
If you don’t have any patience like me, you can tap the wrap to help the water flow into the small bowl quicker. It’s nice to see the water droplets slide down the wrap towards the little bowl. We even made a small hole on the wrap to feel how hot the water was.
You can also just take the bowl in a cooler place and let the water slide down to the small bowl by itself.
The Water Cycle Experiment Video On YouTube
If you would rather watch this experiment on video, you can watch our video below. For more science stuff and family-friendly videos, don’t forget to subscribe to our Youtube channel!
For in-depth explanation of the water cycle experiment, here are some of the best online resources we have found
The Water Project
Some more water cycle experiment ideas plus free lesson plans for teachers and homeschooling families. Also covers information on the world’s water problems and some solutions that we can all participate in.
North Carolina Testing Program: A Drop Of Water By Walter Wick
Free PDF with diagram of the water cycle plus mini quiz about the water cycle
The Water Cycle Play
A script for a play by enchanted learning. Get the kids moving and learning with this easy to reenact play. Props not necessary!
All About the Earth’s water problems. 5 pages on what you need to know about the global water shortage.
Some Interesting Facts About Water
Learn About the Water Cycle For Younger Kids On YouTube
A song about the water cycle.
A song saying “the main hero in the water cycle is water”…. and find out who the unsung hero is!
Animation Lesson For Kids on the water cycle
Upbeat song about the water cycle by Mr. R’s song for teaching
Poem About The Water Cycle
Round and round,
From the sky,
To the ground,
In a cycle,
You can’t see,
Water comes to you and me!
Evaporation is a start,
But it’s not the only part,
From sea to sky,
But leaves enough to float in boats!
In the sky,
Like fish form schools,
Condensation makes it dense,
Like dollars have one hundred cents!
Then it falls, precipitation!
It’s like group participation…
Rain and hail,
Sleet and snow,
Plants can grow…
Fills up lakes, and streams, and seas,
We can drink it as we please,
Water used to brush our teeth,
Water wets the coral reef!
Water, water, what we need,
We need water to succeed,
And water cycle keeps it fresh,
Water cycle, you’re the best!