Learning About the Water Cycle with Preschoolers

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This week, we learned about the Water Cycle!  In preparation, I checked out every book on the Water Cycle from the library. I put out a bunch of the books for the kids to look through.  The kids LOVED looking through these books!  There were a bunch of pictures of rain, snow, tornadoes, lightning, and all different kinds of weather.  Then we got down to business…

After giving the children a chance to go through the books a bit and ask a few questions, we sat down in front of my giant felt board.  We discussed the importance of the water cycle for all living things on Earth.  Then I introduced some new vocabulary to the students.  I had a picture of grass, waterways, the Sun, a cloud, rain, and three arrows.  I also had the words “evaporation”, “condensation”, and “precipitation” written out.  I attached the pictures and the words to felt and went through the water cycle with the children explaining each step and answering any questions that they asked.  The children were really engaged!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANext, I printed out a water cycle review work-page.  Some students colored their sheet.  Then they glued the correct word (condensation, precipitation, and evaporation) in the correct place in the water cycle.  I did this because I knew that they were not going to remember the words and definition from this one lesson.  I wanted the children to have a reference sheet to take home to remind them of what we learned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI thought that if we did something to focus on just one of the stages of the water cycle, they may be able to remember the vocabulary word (in this case, precipitation) and use it at home.  I decided to do a craft to demonstrate precipitation.  I cut out, for each child, a cloud, three strings (two of the same length and one longer), two rain drops, a blue rectangle, and the word “Precipitation.”  I also had glue sticks and cotton balls available and lots of squares cut out from blue tissue paper.  The children glued cotton balls to the cloud and tissue paper on the rain drops.  When the children were ready, I taped the rain drops and vocabulary word to their cloud.  Here is the finished product……

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I was really happy when the children showed real signs of learning with this craft.  One child put some of the blue tissue paper on his cloud.  When he showed me, he explained that that was the rain stored in the cloud and waiting to come down!  I was impressed!

This was a really fun lesson.  If I were to do it again, I would break this session into two lessons.  At this age, it was a bit much for them to do two different activities.  By the end of the craft, their brains (and attention spans) were exhausted, and we were unable to do the journals and reflect on their learning.

Before completing this lesson, I borrowed Bill Nye’s video on The Water Cycle from the library.  I found it really helpful!  Bill Nye has a great way of taking complex science terms and concepts and put them in a way that is both engaging and educational for children.  This video has an awesome Kriss-Kross remix!  My two and four year old watched the video and they were laughing along with it.  My daughter has become a bit “water-cycle” obsessed, actually!  She loves making “rain” from the steam from her dinner and a cup of ice. Here is the video from YouTube:

We are going to study a bit more on the water cycle next week-can’t wait!!

Enjoy!

~Miss Jenny

**UPDATE**

I took a picture of a child's journal entry from today.  This is the ground  (with a seed) and a cloud with rain!

I took a picture of a child’s journal entry from today. This is the ground (with a seed) and a cloud with rain!

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