Conduct a simple experiment demonstrating the different stages of the water cycle.
Discussion point: God’s love is like a drop of water in the water cycle: it never ends, but goes on forever.
Plan to explore the fascinating water cycle with your children. An ideal time to begin is while you are driving in your vehicle. Play a game of “I spy some water” and use the discussion questions to help your children consider the complexities of the water cycle.
While you are driving, invite your children to look at the wheels of other vehicles that pass by to see if they can see where the tires start and stop. (You want them to realize that circles and wheels have no beginning and no end, like the water cycle and like God).
Questions for discussion
- Who can look out the car window and find some water? (We can find water in rivers, lakes, streams, puddles, and in the air as clouds, steam, fog, snow or rain.)
- Is water hiding in places where we cannot see it? (Water can appear on our bodies as tears, saliva and sweat.)
- Can you think of anywhere else that water may be hiding?
- Do you think a person can live without water?
- How about animals?
- Do plants need water to live too?
- What would happen to us and the rest of the plants and animals on the earth if there were no water?
- Let’s try and think of a way to get rid of a drop of water. Do you think we can we do it? (Compare the enduring nature of water to God’s love, which never ends.)
At home, conduct this simple experiment that explores the stages of the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation, transpiration and accumulation:
- Explain that evaporation happens when the sun or another heat source heats liquid water, turning it into vapor or steam. Water that has evaporated becomes moisture in the sky, often in the form of clouds or mist.
- To demonstrate evaporation: Under careful supervision, allow your children to watch a pot of water boil on the stove. As the water boils, evaporating water is visible as steam rising from the water’s surface.
- Now describe how condensation occurs when water vapor (steam) cools down again and changes back into liquid.
- To demonstrate condensation: Show your children what happens when you hold a pot lid above the pot of boiling water. (Use an oven mitt to hold the lid, as it can get hot.) Draw your kids’ attention to the steam that’s forming visible water drops (i.e., condensing) on the underside of the lid.
- Tell your children that precipitation is water that returns to the earth as dew, snow, rain, hail or sleet. Water falling from the sky is called precipitation.
- To demonstrate precipitation: Watch the drops forming on the surface of the pot lid as they grow larger and heavier. Eventually they will begin dropping back into the pot of water (i.e., precipitating).
- Now move the pot lid to allow the droplets to fall into a bowl. Collect enough “precipitation” to be visible in the bowl.
- Describe how collection or accumulation occurs when the precipitation that falls as snow, rain, sleet or hail begins to collect in certain areas on the earth.
- To demonstrate accumulation: Allow your children to take turns observing the accumulated water in the bowl.
- Explain that consumption takes place during the water cycle too. Some of the water that sits in puddles, lakes and rivers evaporates, starting the water cycle all over again. But some of the water that sits in puddles, lakes and rivers is first consumed by plants, animals and people. It comes out of our bodies again in the form of waste, such as sweat, tears, saliva and urine, and then evaporates to continue the water cycle. Plants return water to the environment through a process similar to sweating (perspiration). In plants, when the leaves give off moisture like this, we call it transpiration.
- To demonstrate consumption: Share out the water that has accumulated in the bowl and allow your children to drink it. Then play an active game that has everyone moving around enough to start sweating. As water begins to show on your skin, explain that water is coming from your bodies and evaporating into the air to cool your skin. That evaporating water is starting the water cycle again.
- In conclusion, pray and thank God for designing water to give life to everything on the earth, and thank Him for His love that goes on forever and ever, just like a drop of water.
Note: This discussion can also help a child who is fearful during electrical storms. Use the storm as an opportunity to assure your child that God loves them, and that He is in control. For more ideas, read the Bible stories “better than water wings” or “a rocking sail boat” in the courage lesson. In this same lesson, also see the hands-on option “I wanna hold the hand that holds the world.”
“He draws up the drops of water, which distill as rain to the streams; the clouds pour down their moisture and abundant showers fall on mankind. Who can understand how He spreads out the clouds, how He thunders from His pavilion? See how He scatters His lightning about Him, bathing the depths of the sea. This is the way He governs the nations and provides food in abundance. He fills His hands with lightning and commands it to strike its mark. His thunder announces the coming storm; even the cattle make known its approach.”
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
“Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.”
“The Lord does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths. He makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth; He sends lightning with the rain and brings out the wind from His storehouses.”
“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”