Monday, September 5, 2011

Water Cycle Puzzle

What are clouds? Why does it rain? Where do the puddles go? To make understanding the water cycle easier, I designed a puzzle for my son to complete.

First, though, we learned a little from some amazing books.

Evaporation and condensation are tough to explain to a 6 year old. To help him “see” evaporation, we filled a transparent glass half full of water and I cut a strip from the sticky part of a post-it note to mark where the water line was. We’ll be observing it all week to see how much water evaporates.
UPDATE: After one week, 1 1/2 centimeters of water had evaporated from our glass.
To illustrate condensation, I filled a glass mason jar two-thirds full with warm water and screwed the lid on. It didn’t take long before the jar’s sides above the water line steamed over and beads of condensation formed.

Afterwards, I gave my son the puzzle and asked him to put the pieces and arrows in the right order. When my son wasn’t sure, I told him to turn the pictures over and read the back. 
Before long, he had all the pieces in place. We turned the oval pictures over to double check. He was SO excited to get it right!

To make your own Water Cycle Puzzle, you need:
1 large, empty cereal box
2 pieces of sticker paper
Water Cycle Puzzle template (download a 2-page PDF here)
An exacto knife

Cut the cereal box and save the two largest rectangles; recycle the rest. Print both pages of the Water Cycle Puzzle PDF onto sticker paper. Peel off the backing from the first page (the one with the large pictures). Adhere this (centering it) to the plain brown side of one of the cereal box rectangles. Cut off any excess. Carefully use an exacto knife to cut out the ovals and circles (put a cutting board or cardboard underneath to protect your work surface).

Use scissors to cut out the ovals and circles on the second Water Cycle Puzzle page. Peel off the backing and adhere these stickers to the back of the shapes you just cut out. Glue the cardboard Water Cycle page with holes to the other cereal box rectangle (brown side up). Let dry. 

Then, get ready for some puzzle fun.


  1. Oh wow -- love the free printable! Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful and fun way to learn the water cycle!

  2. I just discovered your amazing blog this weekend!! I'm so excited to try some of these experiments and activities in my kindergarten classroom. It is so amazing to see a parent as dedicated to making learning fun for her little one as you are. He is lucky to have a mom like you. Thanks for sharing!!

  3. What a lovely printable - thanks for sharing! Have you seen this kid's explanation of the water cycle?

  4. Thanks for the compliments, ShoreGirl! And thanks, MaryAnne for the link; my son and I watched it twice! I'm glad you found my blog, Amanda. If you ever need the printables modified for classroom use (perhaps this could be a cut-and-paste worksheet?), let me know!

  5. Fabulous project! All 3 of my kids (ages 4-7) would enjoy this. We have a Winnie the Pooh book that introduces the same topic. This puzzle would be a perfect complement.

  6. This is awesome!!! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful printables!!!

  7. I had a song we sang when I was teaching that taught hte water cycle to the tune of My Darlin' Clementine.

  8. you have had some fabulous weather fun! I am pinning like crazy so I don't forget any of these! :)

    thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase!

  9. We are doing water this week and this is perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thank you for sharing this printable. I am working on lessons for teaching the Water cycle at this very moment. When I feel like my students "get it", we are all going to create a Science Making Connections Tee with the water cycle. There are a couple of examples in Science Making Connections album on my facebook page. Here is the link.