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It’s summer, and it’s probably hot where you are, yes?! So, here are two fun Family Science activities that you can do with water! (These are from our book Family Science.) Both these activities are best done outside in case the water play gets a little crazy!

Spigot

What you’ll need:

  • Small nail or sharp scissors (adults should help with these!)
  • Clear plastic drink bottle with a screw-on cap
  • Water

What you do:

  • Using a nail, or the point of a pair of scissors, have an adult poke a small hole in the side of a plastic bottle near the bottom.
  • Hold your finger over the hole while you fill the bottle with water.
  • Screw on the cap. Remove your finger.
  • Can you control when the water flows out of the hole?

What’s happening?

You expect the water to leak out of the hole, but the cap keeps the outside air from pushing the water out of the bottle. When you remove the cap, air takes the place of the water as it flows out of the hole. Screwing on the lid again stops the flow of air into the bottle, and the water stops flowing out. As long as air can take the place of water, it will continue to flow.

Halfway

What you’ll need:

  • Small nail or sharp scissors (adults should help with these!)
  • Clear plastic drink bottle
  • Wide mouth plastic cup
  • Water

What you do:

  • Put a little water in a bottle.
  • Place a cup upside-down on top of the open bottle. The top of
  • the bottle should touch the bottom of the cup.
  • Hold the cup against the bottle top, and then turn them both over.
  • What would happen if you lifted the bottle half-way out of the cup?

What’s happening?

Air enters the bottle when you lift it. The water flows out as the air moves in. When the water level in the cup reaches the opening of the bottle, it stops air from entering the bottle. When the air stops entering the bottle, the water stops flowing out.

Have fun!