I remember learning the water cycle song in middle school. It wasn’t anything fancy. “Evaporaaaation, condensaaaation, precipitaaaation… run off!” We each had experienced the water cycle, especially living in Oregon, but now we had big, fancy words to describe what we already knew. Water moves.
But learning about the water doesn’t have to start in middle school. In fact, I have a water cycle in a jar activity for preschoolers. If your kid loves water, food coloring or observing science, then you are in the right place. Follow the steps below to create your own water cycle in a jar!
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Water Cycle in a Jar Instructions
You will need:
a mason jar or a wide mouth container
food coloring (optional)
spoon or something to mix with
a sunny spot in your home, safe from kids and pets
1. Help your preschooler pour water into the mason jar. Fill it about 1/3 of the way full.
2. Next, let your preschool choose their favorite food coloring color and help them squeeze one or two drops into the water.
3. Hold the mason jar down while your preschooler mixes in the food coloring with a spoon.
4. Use the permanent marker to draw a line where the water level is. Be sure to get on eye-level to do this.
5. Put a square of plastic wrap on top of the jar, covering the entire opening. Put a rubber band around the plastic wrap to hold it in place.
6. Set the jar in a sunny place where you and your preschooler can observe it every couple hours. To really see evaporation occur, leave in a sunny spot for a few days. It takes a little while since the water is precipitating back into your mason jar “lake.”
Teach the Water Cycle to your Preschooler
Water goes through cycles in the mason jar. Evaporation happens when the sun turns the water into a gas. It makes the water look like it’s dried up. Condensation is the liquid you see on the sides and top of the mason jar. This happens when the water gas turns into a liquid again. When water drips from the sides or top of the jar back down to the water, that’s called precipitation or rain.
Whenever you observe the jar together, talk about what is happening with the water and remind your preschooler that water runs in a circle. You can even print out the FREE water cycle printable below for your preschooler to color to help remind them about what they learned.
Have fun teaching the water cycle to your preschooler!
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