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Inside: Puddle Science is all about having fun while learning something new. After a rain shower, go outside and try this puddle experiment to learn about evaporation and practice observational and measurement skills.
Do you want to teach kids the concept of evaporation without it being tedious and boring? It’s certainly possible.
One way to make science fun is to take it outside. Even though evaporation is one of those concepts that is hard to see with the human eye, we have found a way to make it more visible and hands-on. And don’t forget the fun factor. Are there many kids who don’t like playing with muddy puddles?
What you need:
String (we used knitting yarn)
Measuring tape (optional)
Observation sheet (optional)
What to do:
1. After a rain, head outside and find a puddle you can return to throughout the day. Use the yarn to mark the outline of the puddle.
2. Practice observational skills: note the size and shape of the puddle.
My kids all had a different theory about what our puddle looked like, from a puppy head to a running bunny.
Why is the puddle in this spot? Is it perhaps lower than the surrounding area?
Invite kids to take a picture (or if they are not old enough, do it yourself) and measure the widest part of the puddle. Older kids can write down their observations in the notebook (or in our printable).
3. Ask your child to predict what will happen to the puddle in two hours and use a stick, stone, or toy to mark the spot where they think the puddle will be at the next check.
4. Come back in two hours (or in one hour if it’s a warm, sunny day) and check on your
Note the difference in size, shape, and depth. Take another picture (so you can compare it to the first one) and write down observations.
5. Repeat every two hours until the puddle disappears (or as in our case, until it starts raining all over again).
My kids were extremely excited to point out the areas where the puddle was completely gone and enjoyed measuring the puddle every each way.
Invite kids to ponder why the puddle is disappearing before their eyes.
Talk about the factors that influence evaporation:
Is it a hot day?
Is the sun out?
Is it windy?
Is it humid?
Higher temperature and wind increase the rate of evaporation. Humidity decreases it. As the water (liquid) gets warmer, it turns into a vapor (or gas). The puddle is getting smaller because the water in the puddle is changing its physical state from liquid to gas. Evaporation is a fundamental part of the water cycle.
Extend the learning with books.
Books about Puddles
Where Do Puddles Go, Fay Robinson
Down Comes the Rain, Franklyn M. Branley
The Great Big Water Cycle Adventure, Kay Barnham
Water Dance, Thomas Locker
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Find a deep muddy puddle and a long stick. Push the stick into the mud and use a bit of tape to mark the area just over the puddle water. Come back every two hours and mark where the water is at that point. How fast is the puddle water evaporating?
A lot of things can be observed, recorded, and learned in nature after the rain. Put your boots on and head outside to jump in puddles and learn about evaporation!