To do: Learn the main phases in the water cycle
Time: 15 minutes
Materials: Printable water cycle artwork
We associate spring with rain, puddles and thunderstorms. But what does your child know about the source of all that rain? Let’s examine the 4 main phases in the water cycle.
Here’s a printable to help spark a discussion and of course color if you’d like. Now, let’s get started:
4 Phases of the Water Cycle
Evaporation: Heat from the Sun causes water on Earth to evaporate and rise into the sky. Evaporation means a liquid turns into a gas. The evaporated water vapor collects in the sky as clouds.
Ask your child: Do you see any clouds today? Do you remember the puddles on the ground, where do you think they went?
Condensation: When the water vapor in the clouds cools down, it becomes water again. This is called condensation. Try a simple experiment by filling a cup two-thirds full of hot water. Grab another cup, flip it upside down, and put it on top of the first cup filled with hot water. On top of the upside down cup, place one ice cube. Watch as condensation forms in the top cup!
Ask your child: Do you see the condensation? What does it look like? (Help make the connection to a cloud if necessary!)
Precipitation: When water falls from the sky in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail we call it precipitation. Head to the window to see if any precipitation is happening currently, and if not, speak about the last time water fell from the sky.
Ask your child: Do you see any precipitation right now? Do you remember when it last rained/snowed? What does it look like? What does it feel like?
Collection: Oceans and lakes are two examples of places water “collects” on earth. This phase in the water cycle is called collection. The cycle continues again when the sun heats up the water that has been collected and it evaporates.
Ask your child: Have we visited an ocean? Do you remember the time we went to the lake or river? What did you see there? Where else does water collect?
Enjoy exploring the water cycle with your child! Here’s the water cycle printable once again to help guide the discussion with your child.
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