April is Earth Month! During April, let’s learn about the importance of using water intentionally.
Water is the main source of life. We use it all the time. Not only does our body need it to stay hydrated, 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 doesn’t suffer.
Wasting water can be an abstract concept for kids. This experiment is a great visual for helping them understand how they conserve water.
- Stopwatch (or your mobile phone)
- Several cups
- Pen and paper
- Tell your little learners 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 your hands, you will set the timer to that exact time.
- Have all the cups in place, 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.
Looking at all the cups of water opens a few 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 conservations!
Guided Questions for Younger Children
- With all these cups, how many times could we fill up our pet’s bowl?
- How many times could we fill up your sippy cup/drinking bottle?
- Is that a lot of water?
Guided Questions for Older Children
- Ask 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?
- Estimate how much water they use during one month or a whole year! Suggestions to do this:
- Write down all the activities that require water in a week (how many showers or baths do they 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 uses.
- Add up the number of cups per week.
- Convert cups to gallons (1 gallon is 16 cups).
- Multiply this number by four and you will have an estimate of their water consumption for the month. They will be surprised just how much it is.
- Multiply by 12 and you have their yearly consumption!