Save Water Activity: A Simple And Easy Experiment

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Water is the main source of life. We use it all the time. Not only does our body need it to stay hydrated and keep going but it is our number one tool at home. We clean ourselves, our clothes and our home with it, we cook with it, and sometimes we even play with it! Water is a great sensory material for young children. Most families around the world get water directly from their tap which makes life so much easier. However, it is important to use water consciously so that the planet and our pockets don’t suffer. Enter the battle with our kids and the nagging parents telling kids to stop the running water. What if you could use that moment for a save water activity? 

save water experiment

Wasting water can be an abstract concept for kids. I know our little one has no feeling of how much water she uses, especially because it is such a fun thing to play with. The tap keeps running and water just keeps coming out and then going down the drain so it is difficult for young kids to grasp the concept of wasting water. So one day I asked myself if there was a better way to help her understand the amount of water that is used when we keep the tap running.  I prepared a simple save water activity we could do together that is easy and very visual for kids. It gave us the chance for a constructive play-talk and sneak in some STEM. Just a heads up, you will be using extra water for this activity so make sure you can save it for watering your plants or feeding your pets so it doesn’t go to waste 😉

Save Water Activity 

Materials you will need:

  • Stopwatch (or your mobile phone)
  • Cups
  • Pen and Paper

Save Water Experiment

  • Tell your kids you want to find out how much time it takes them to wash their hands. It is not a race, the important thing is to wash hands properly. Prepare the stopwatch or mobile phone and time how long it takes them.
  • Once you know how long it took them to wash their hands you will set the timer to that exact time. It took my kid 5 minutes!!! 
  • Grab all the cups, start the timer and run the tap. Start filling up cups until the timer goes off. Now you have a visual understanding of how much water is needed to wash your hands.
save water experiment

Looking at all the cups of water opens up a number of possibilities to sneak in some critical thinking, math and to reflect on how much water we use! Bear in mind that it might be a bit too abstract for toddlers but it is never too early to start these conversations! And as parents you may also be surprised by the outcome,

Time for Reflection and Math

You can ask questions like:

  • With all these cups, how many times could we fill up our dog’s bowl?
  • How many times could we fill up your sippy cup/drinking bottle?
  • Is that a lot of water?

For older kids:

  • If you should be drinking 5 cups of water a day, how many days of drinking water do you use when washing your hands? (If your kids are motivated you can try it with taking a shower… you will fill up many more drinking cups!)

Sneak in some Critical Thinking

  • Repeat the experiment with a half-opened tap. Ask beforehand how many cups they think it will fill? 
  • If your kid is older you could ask them if they know where the water comes from. This depends locally but usually from a water spring or reserve close by. How could we find out? 
  •  Also, for older kids it would be interesting to estimate how much water they use during one month or a whole year! Suggestions to do this:
    • Grab a pen and paper and write down all the activities that require water in a week (how many showers or baths thay have, how many times they brush their teeth or wash their hands, how much they drink…)
    • Use this experiment to calculate how many cups each activity is
    • Add up the number of cups per week
    • Convert cups to liters (1 liter is approx 4 cups) or gallons ( 1 gallon is 16 cups)
    • Multiply this number by four and you have an estimate of their water consumption for the whole month!! They will be surprised how many bathtubs it would fill. 
    • Multiply by 12 and you have their yearly consumption!
    • If you do it for the whole family you could cross-check it with your water bill, see if you were close!

Usually we don’t have any overview of how much water we use in a single day. You can save water in so many different ways or at least be aware of your water consumption. I hope you find the post inspiring and become active!

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve done the experiment. Let me know in the comments below if you were surprised by the amount of water! 

More Fun Activities and Games:

Make sure to Bookmark the Stay At Home STEM post which will be updated with all our fun STEM activities that are perfect for doing at home.

water use experiment save water

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