Week 7: Puddles

Why do puddles form?

Everything is wet after a rainstorm, but some places are wetter than others. Under a tree, the ground might stay dry, protected from leaves. However, along the edges of the road where the water is running into a ditch or gutter, it might look like a rushing river. In some places, water on the ground soaks in or washes away quickly, while in others it pools to form a puddle. After the next rainfall, look around your yard for puddles and see if you can figure out why they form where they do. 
 Where do puddles go?
Rainstorm just finished? Better run outside quick and jump in all those wonderful puddles! Why the rush? Because most puddles don’t last very long and before you know it, they’ve disappeared. Ever wonder why? It’s a combination of a few natural forces at work. If the puddle is on grass or dirt, some of the water will soak into the ground. If it’s on the road or a sidewalk, it has fewer places to soak in. This is when evaporation comes into play. The warmth of the sun and the movement of the wind across the puddle’s surface cause molecules of water to break away and go back into the air. Eventually, these water particles may join together into clouds and cause rain again, creating the puddle anew! This whole cycle is called the water cycle.
(Photo by Crystal Partridge from Pexels)

Learn: The Water Cycle for Younger Kids

Learn: The Water Cycle for Older Kids

Backyard Activity: Puddle Exploration

For this week’s activity, you’ll need to keep an eye on the skies and run outside to find puddles right after a heavy rainstorm. Use your net to catch any creatures that might be in them and use the magnifying glass in this week’s kit to look closely at the creatures, plants, and rocks in and around them. Use your new Pond Life guide to identify what you find. Sit a little ways away and watch what happens around the puddle. Draw or write about what you find in your field journal!

Here are some things to explore:

  • What lives in the puddle? If a puddle takes a long time to evaporate, you might find mosquito larvae, worms, or even tadpoles in it!
  • Do any animals visit the puddle? Birds may bath in it or look for worms in it. Small mammals might drink water from it.
  • What do you see deep in the middle of the puddle? What do you see on the surface? Sometimes bugs, powdery pollen, or leaves and petals will float there.
  • Can you see your reflection in the puddle? What happens when you swish the water around?
(Photo via Good Free Photos)

Backyard Activity: Track a Puddle’s Evaporation

Another fun activity that takes a little longer is measuring a puddle as it evaporates. There is a great tutorial at Kidminds.org for this activity! In your packet this week, I’ve included yarn to use to outline a puddle as it evaporates and a ruler to measure depth!

(Image from kidminds.org)

Craft: Make A Rain Gauge

It can be fun to measure the rain that falls and compare it to how big the puddles are in your yard. To do that, you need a rain gauge, which is a tool that measures rainfall. In this week’s craft, use the included ruler and water bottle and a few pebbles from your yard to make your own rain gauge. You can make the whole thing more stable by using the duct tape from monarch week to connect the top and bottom of the bottle after cutting.

Listen to The Mud Puddle read by the author, Robert Munsch

While you can’t see the pages turning in this video, it is rousingly read by the famous and inimitable author Robert Munsch and is loads of fun!

Listen to Henry and Mudge in Puddle Trouble by Cynthia Rylant

Rock Coloring Pages