Summer Water & Sand Activity: All Soaked Up!
Big sponges. Little sponges. How much water can they absorb?
- Grades: PreK–K
SKILLS: Children will learn how sponges of different sizes absorb different quantities of water.
- sponges of varying sizes
- water table or basin
- plastic measuring cups, bowls, and containers
- water wheel
- food coloring and manila construction paper (optional for older children)
1 Place sponges of varying sizes by a water table or basin. Invite a small group of children to put on their smocks and join you there. Ask children to investigate the materials and squeeze the different sponges. Explain how the water gets soaked up or absorbed by the sponge.
2 Fill a plastic container with a small amount of water. Invite one of the children to place his sponge into the container. Once the water has been absorbed, ask him to lift the sponge up. Ask: "Where did the water go?" Invite him to squeeze the sponge to see where the water has gone.
3 Provide children with small, empty plastic containers or measuring cups. Invite them to fill the containers with water from the basin or water table using the sponges. How many water-soaked sponges will it take to fill different-sized containers? Pass a medium-sized container to children and ask them to take turns squeezing water from their sponges until the container is full. Count with children to see how many sponges it takes.
4 Place a water wheel on the water table. Ask children to squeeze water from their sponges onto the wheel. What happens?
5 While children are investigating, you can sing these words to the tune of "London Bridge Is Falling Down":
Water, water falling down
Out of the sponge, through the wheel
Water, water falling down
Let's fill up the basin
For younger children: Take children outdoors. Provide large sponges used for washing cars and large basins of water. Hold a "clean the playground" party. Invite children to put on plastic aprons and wash the swings, slides, trikes, and other play equipment with their sponges.
For older children: Add different colors of food coloring to the water in several water basins. Provide large sheets of manila construction paper. Let children dip small sponges into the water and gently squeeze them out onto the paper.
Children love to wash dolls in a basin or water table. Invite a few children to choose a plastic doll to wash. Provide them with sponges and washcloths to bathe the dolls. Pour some baby shampoo into the water to make soap bubbles. Include empty baby powder or baby lotion bottles to extend their pretend play.