What could be more fun on a hot summer day than playing with water? Let's see what science we can learn with water. Always remember to get permission before playing in water and to keep safe. Even shallow water can be dangerous if you are careless.
Find a large soda pop bottle, a one or two-liter size. Get an adult to help you poke a small hole in the side of it with a nail or sharp tool at the top of the straight part of the side. Poke another hole about half way down the side. Poke one more about 2.5 cms (1 inch) from the bottom. Cover each of the holes with a piece of tape. What do you think will happen if you fill the bottle with water and take the tape off? Will the holes leak water if the bottle cap is on? What about if the bottle cap is not on? Do you think the water from one of the holes might hit the ground farther from the bottle than water leaking out of the other holes? Tell someone your prediction and then go outdoors and try it. What happened? Why do you think this happened?
If you have a wading pool or puddle in your yard, or a tub of water, you can make boats to float in it. Please be very careful if the water is in a pool of any kind. Ask a parent or other grownup if it is alright to use the pool or puddle and play safely. Can you make a boat that will float? What materials can you use? Can you make a boat from foil? Can you make a boat from Styrofoam from a washed meat tray? Can your boat carry a load of some sort? Can you design a way to move your boat across the water? Do some shapes make better boats than others do?
Roll up a piece of foil into a ball. Does it float? Can you get it to sink? How about if you crush it? Why does it act this way?
If you have bubble solution from a store, you can make bubbles to play with. You can even make your own bubble solution. Use a half-cup of liquid detergent (some people think Dawn or Joy brands work best) and two quarts of water. Sometimes putting a tablespoon of glycerin or corn syrup into the solution helps the bubbles last longer. Dip a straw into the bubble solution and try to blow a bubble. A can with both ends removed can become a bubble trumpet by dipping one end in the bubble solution and blowing into the other end. Have someone help you make sure there are no sharp edges on the can. Can you think up other ways of blowing bubbles? Can you make a bubble pipe using just your hands? The plastic baskets that some fruits and vegetables come in can even be used to blow bubbles. Can bubbles show you which way the breeze is blowing? How far will a bubble go before it breaks?
On a hot day, being sprayed by the hose can be fun. Why is the water so cold? Remember, outdoor water pipes are underground to protect them from freezing in winter. The soil above a water pipe acts as an insulator so that the temperature stays the same year round. What temperature is this? If you can borrow a thermometer, use it to get the temperature of the water coming from the hose. How cold is it underground? Make sure you have permission to use the hose. When there is a drought there may be times when running water outdoors is not allowed.
You can make a rainbow on a sunny day with a hose. Try it. Get the water to come out of the hose as a fine mist. Look at the mist. Do you see a rainbow? Try standing facing the sun. Try standing with your back to the sun. Where is the sun when you see a rainbow?
When does the water spray farthest from the hose? When it is in a tight stream or when it is a mist? When it is aimed high or low or in between?
Painting With Water
Painting water on a driveway or sidewalk can be fun. Find out if there is an old paint brush or two that you can use outdoors. Fill a bucket with water. Draw a diamond or other simple shape on the driveway or sidewalk. How long does it last? Where did it go? Will it last longer in a sunny spot or in a shady spot?