As a repeating cycle in nature, the water cycle is ready-made for your little one to practice recognizing and recreating patterns, an important skill for kindergarten. Although the water cycle involves big words, if you couch it in fun, your kindergartener will soon be proudly wielding the vocabulary like a pro. With arts and crafts, science experiments and games, your little one will gain understanding of one of nature's most important natural processes for supporting life on earth.
By creating a water cycle diagram collage, you can introduce your child to the vocabulary and establish that a cycle is a repeating pattern. Start with a light blue backdrop of poster board or construction paper. Paper cutouts of land, trees, plants, water, sun, clouds, raindrops and vapors are one option. But your child can make a 3D collage using sand for land, twigs and leaves for plants, blue cellophane for water, a gold chocolate coin or butterscotch candy for the sun, cotton balls or gauze for clouds, miniature adhesive faux blue or white jewels for raindrops and gray string or yarn as vapors.
Melting and Freezing
As water travels through the water cycle, it takes liquid, solid and gaseous forms through heating and cooling processes. You can reduce the scale of the natural cycle so your kindergartener can observe it in action. Let your child fill an ice cube tray with water and put it in the freezer for several hours to see how cooling liquid creates a solid form. Heat the ice cubes in a pot over the stove and watch the steam rise to observe how heat returns the solid to liquid and then gas. If you put a clear lid on the pot as the water heats, your child can observe the condensation on the inside. Remove the pot from heat and watch the condensation liquefy and fall back into the pot as rain.
Water Cycle Relay Race
After your miniature scientist is familiar with the water cycle and vocabulary words such as "precipitation," "evaporation" and "condensation," you can challenge her and her friends or siblings to reconstruct the water cycle in a relay race. Hang a blank poster opposite each team. Give each team picture vocabulary cards of the sun, land, water, clouds, rain or snow, vapor and directional arrows, a spoon and a bowl of ice cubes. Each team member must carry an ice cube on a spoon to the opposite end without dropping it and attach one piece of the water cycle to the poster in correct order including the arrows to indicate flow direction. First team to correctly assemble the water cycle wins.
Water Cycle Jewelry
Your kindergartener can illustrate the repeating pattern of the water cycle with a beaded bracelet or necklace as a take-along reminder. Your child can use representative color beads or shape beads or buttons for sun, water, clouds, rain, vapor and growing things. String one of each in order of the water cycle and repeat until the bracelet or necklace is the right length. Tie the ends together to let your kindergartener wear the visual reminder of the water cycle wherever he goes.