Wonderful water: activities ages 5-7

Key Words

Liquid, transparent, water vapour, evaporate, freshwater, salty, ocean, sea, river, stream, reservoir, canal, lake, pond, water cycle, current, dissolve, cells, dehydrated, beverage, filter, mineral, spring.



Here are a set of activities to support the Online Field Trip about water. The intention is to provide a range of activities that span the curriculum and motivate children to want to learn about water – why it is so essential to all living things and so vital to our everyday lives. After the introduction, the activities are listed in a structured order to progress children through the topic and finish with a variety of extension ideas. Feel free to select the activities that suit the needs of your class.

Ensure parental/guardian permission has been sought prior to tasting any food and that you are aware of any allergies or intolerances.


Introducing Water

  • Start by giving each child a cup of water. Ask them to look, smell and taste it. Invite the children to describe the water. Ask them whether they think it has a smell, taste or a shape. Tell them that water is a liquid and can change its form. See if the children can tell you what happens to water when it freezes or when it boils in a kettle.
  • Invite comments from the children about why they think water is important. Discuss the fact that all living things need water to survive including humans, animals and plants.
  • We use water for so many different things. Ask the children for examples of how we use water in our homes, in school and other places the children recognise. 


Water on Earth

  • With the children, look at a globe. Point out that the blue areas indicate water and the green/brown areas indicate land. Do the children think there is more land or water on Earth? Tell them that we have a lot more water than land and most of the water joins up to make huge oceans. Let the children trace the water around the globe with their fingers, seeing if they can navigate the whole Earth without touching land. Explain that all ocean water is salty and is not suitable for drinking.
  • Find out how much the children know about water on Earth by sharing the picture and fact cards. Ask the children to look out for the places where freshwater can be found, as that is what we use for our drinking water.

Consider the following information:

1. Oceans: Very large areas of salt water that cover two thirds of the earth’s surface. We have five oceans around the world - Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Southern Ocean and Arctic Ocean

2. Seas: Areas of salt water, smaller than oceans and sometimes surrounded by land. We have over fifty seas around the world.

3. Rivers: Large natural streams of water that flow to the sea, a lake or another river. Rivers contain freshwater and flow in a channel. The bottom of the channel is called the ‘bed’ and the sides are the ‘banks’. Rivers have a current that keeps them moving.

4. Streams: Small, narrow rivers of freshwater that have a current.

5. Lakes: (Or Lochs in Ireland and Scotland) Large areas of deep water surrounded by land. Most lakes contain freshwater and they sometimes have currents.

6. Ponds: Small areas of still, freshwater that differ from lakes because they are not so deep. They tend to have more plant life than lakes.

7. Reservoirs: Lakes that have been made by building a dam across a river. They fill up with water when it rains and the water can then be saved to use later.

8. Canals: Long channels of water that have been built for boats or ships. Sometimes called artificial waterways. Canals often join up lakes, rivers, seas and oceans.


The Water Cycle

  • Talk to the children about how water is constantly recycled in a process called ‘the water cycle’. The sun heats water on the Earth and causes it to evaporate into the air as water vapour. The water vapour forms into clouds and when the water in the clouds becomes heavy, it falls as rain.
  • Explain to the children that we can’t see water vapour but we can prove that the sun is making water evaporate.

Try the following experiments:

1. On a sunny day, lay a plastic sheet on the ground outside and tip a puddle of water onto it. Use a felt-tip pen and draw a line around the edge of the puddle. Leave the puddle and come back to it later in the day. Notice whether the puddle has shrunk. Talk about where the water has gone. You can keep returning to the puddle and drawing around the edge of it so that you can see how much it changes.

2. Soak two identical cloths or towels in water. Hang one in the sun to dry and one in the shade. Check later to see which cloth dries the quickest.

3. Fill two beakers or bowls with equal amounts of water and place them both outside
in the sun. Cover one of the beakers with cling film to stop water vapour from escaping. Keep checking the water in the beakers. Ask the children to discuss what happens.

  • Children may ask why rain isn’t salty. This is because, when water is evaporated from oceans and seas, it is only water vapour that rises into the air. The salt in the water does not evaporate. This is why seas and oceans become saltier and saltier as time passes. You can show the children how this works by dissolving some salt in a glass of water. See how many teaspoons of salt you can add to the water until it will no longer dissolve. If you then leave the glass of water in a warm place, the water will evaporate and leave the salt behind.
  • Oceans such as the Antarctic are not as salty. This is because the ice melts into the water and dilutes to the amount of salt to water.


Water and Living Things

Explain to the children that water is not just on the Earth’s surface, but also inside living things, including the human body, animals and plants. The human body is made up of mostly water and we lose some every day when we go to the toilet, when we sweat or breathe out. It is important that we drink water to replace the amount we lose, otherwise our bodies will not be able to work properly.

Share the poem together, ‘Water Inside’. Copies are available to download.


Water Inside 

My body is full up with water
From my head to the tips of my toes 
But the water stays firmly inside me
And never leaks on my clothes 

All of the parts of my body
Need water to help them to work
A bit like an engine needs oil
And without it would splutter and jerk 

I have water inside all my muscles 
And water inside of my blood 
And more water inside my brain
It’s a wonder I don’t cause a flood 

The water is keeping me going 
The water is making me strong 
Without lots of water inside me 
My body would start to go wrong 

I don’t want my body to dry out 
I’d get tired and not feel too well 
So I keep topping up all the water 
So it flows into every cell 

I’ve got so much water inside me 
It’s a wonder I don’t need a plug 
What fun if I started to dribble 
When somebody gave me a hug! 

  • Talk about the poem with the children and invite them to say in their own words, why water is so important to keep our bodies healthy and working properly. What do the children think would happen if we stopped drinking water? See if anyone knows how long we could survive without it (only four or five days). Introduce the word ‘dehydrated’ and explain what it means. 
  • Ask the children how they know when they are thirsty. What does it feel like to be thirsty? Do they get a dry mouth? Do they feel tired and hot? Ask them to think about times when they might need to drink more i.e. when they have been running around. Tell them that when they are poorly and they have a temperature they will need to drink more water to cool their body down and replace the water that has perspired. 
  • Talk about why it is better to drink water than other beverages including fizzy drinks or cordials. Make sure the children understand that water contains no sugar or additives and so has nothing in it that can harm our teeth or health. 


Eating Water

  • Explain to the children that, although a great deal of our water intake comes from drinking water and other beverages, a lot of it also comes from the food that we eat. All food contains water, even dry foods such as cereals. Fruits and vegetables have
    a particularly large amount of water in them, which is another reason why they
    are so good for us! 
  • Look through the fruit and vegetable cards and talk about how much water is in each item. Explain to the children that a percentage is like a score out of a hundred, so they can see how highly the fruits and vegetables score for water! Play games with the cards. For example, you can hand out a card to each child and, one-by-one ask them to come to the front and say whether they are a fruit or a vegetable. As each child comes up, they need to stand in the right place in the line according to whether their item has a higher or lower water content. You can order all the fruit cards and all the vegetable cards in this way. 
  • Look at packets of dried fruit such as dried pineapple, mango or apple. Explain that these pieces of fruit have had the water taken out of them. Sometimes this is done to make the fruit last longer. Compare the dried fruit to the original in taste, colour and texture and ask for the children’s opinions. Ask the children what they think might happen if you tried to put the water back into the fruit. Conduct another experiment by soaking a piece of dried fruit in a glass of water overnight. The next day, the fruit should look a lot more familiar! 


Creative Water

  • Fill some large bowls or buckets with water for the children to play with. If possible, do this outside on a sunny day so that the children can see the effect of light and reflection on the water. Ask them to let the water in their bowl/bucket go very still and calm. What does it look like? Can they see anything reflected in it? If it is windy or they blow across the surface of the water they may see ripples.
  • Experiment with dropping small pebbles or large stones into the bowls or buckets of water. Ask the children to listen to the splashing sounds and notice the different types of splashes depending on the size and shape of the stone being dropped. Ask them to notice how the water ripples out in circles from the centre where the stone has been dropped. Tell them this is called ‘concentric circles’.
  • Back in the classroom, give the children circles of paper and explain that they can paint a picture showing the ripples of water. Start with a very dark blue circle of colour in the middle of the paper (this can be drawn on with pencil first to make it easier) and then paint gradually lighter shades of blue around it until reaching the outer edge of the circle. This is a good activity to learn about making lighter and darker shades of colour. 
  • The children can also make an artistic interpretation of a splash. Give them some blotting paper and ask them to paint the paper with water to make it wet. Then use a dropper or a brush to drop small amounts of blue or green coloured ink onto the paper. Ask the children to watch how the water spreads like a splash. Make sure the children wear aprons when using ink.
  • During a whole-class brainstorm, ask the children to suggest words to describe water and make a list. Water is wonderfully descriptive and is a lovely topic for creative writing. Use the vocabulary list that the children have made as a class, plus the word bank of descriptive words provided and ask the children to write about how water looks, feels and sounds. Share the finished work with the class.


Tap Water

  • Ask the children to think about the water that comes out of our taps at home and at school. What do we use the water for? Have a whole class brainstorming session and make a list of things that we use tap water for throughout the day, including brushing our teeth, washing our clothes, cleaning surfaces, cooking, flushing the toilet and watering the garden.
  • Ask everyone to choose one activity they do that involves tap water and a time of day that they do it. For example, ‘I clean my teeth at 8 o’clock in the morning’. Give everyone a copy of the tap water day sheet. Ask them to draw a picture of them carrying out the activity and colour it in brightly. They can write underneath the activity what they are doing. Then they can draw hands on the analogue clock and write the numbers on the digital clock to indicate the time (it is fine to keep to ‘o’clock’ and ‘half past’ for younger children).
  • When all the children have completed their sheets, tie a piece of string across the classroom and make a timeline of a typical tap water day. Invite the children to come up one at a time and peg their sheet onto the timeline in the correct place.
  • Discuss the fact that, in Britain, we are lucky to have tap water that is clean and safe to drink. In other countries this is not the case. Talk about how our water is pumped from rivers and reservoirs where the water is fresh and not salty. It is then cleaned in a special treatment centre before it is pumped to our houses and schools.
  • To help the children understand how water is cleaned you can make a water filter using a flowerpot or container that has holes in the bottom of it. Line the pot with kitchen roll to start. Then fill the bottom of the pot with balls of cotton wool. Next add a thick layer of sand and then some stones or gravel. Finally place some more kitchen roll on the top. Place this pot carefully on top of another clear container. Now make some water dirty by stirring some soil in to it. You can also add a few small leaves and twigs. Ask the children to pour the dirty water carefully and slowly into the top of the filter. The water will slowly trickle through to the bottom container. Invite comments from the children. Is the water much cleaner now? Remind them that this water is not clean enough to drink as the water filters in the treatment  centres are much more thorough.


Bottled Water

  • Tell the children that, despite our tap water in Britain being perfectly safe to drink, bottled water has become very popular. It is often sold as ‘mineral water’ or ‘spring water’. This means that the water must have come from an underground source, bottled at that source, and be safe to drink without any treatment. 
  • Look at some examples of bottled water and ask the children if they or their family use bottled water. If so, do they know why? What do the children think are the main reasons that bottled water has become so popular? Does bottled water seem more pure or clean? Is it the convenience of having a bottle to carry? 
  • Carry out a taste test with a cup of tap water and a cup of bottled water and see if the children can spot which is which or taste any difference. Discuss what you find out.



Speaking and listening

Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.

Use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary.

Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.

Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesizing, imagining and exploring ideas.


Develop positive attitudes towards and stamina for writing by writing for different purposes.


Tell the time to the hour and half past the hour and draw the hands on a clock face to show these times.

Art and design

To develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space.

Design and technology

Understand the basic principles of a healthy and varied diet to prepare dishes.
Understand where food comes from.


Name and locate the world’s five oceans.

Use basic geographical vocabulary to refer to key physical features.


Find out about and describe the basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival.


Speaking and listening

I can show my understanding of what I listen to or watch by responding to and asking different kinds of questions.


I can describe and share my experiences and how they made me feel.


I can tell the time using 12 hour clocks, realising there is a link with 24 hour notation, explain how it impacts on my daily routine and ensure that I am organised and ready for events throughout my day.

Art and design

Inspired by a range of stimuli, I can express and communicate my ideas, thoughts and feelings through activities within art and design.

Design and technology

When preparing and cooking a variety of foods, I am becoming aware of the journeys which foods make from source to consumer, their seasonality, their local availability and their sustainability.


I can describe and recreate the characteristics of my local environment by exploring the features of the landscape.


By investigating how water can change from one form to another, I can relate my findings to everyday experiences.


Speaking and listening

Listen and respond appropriately and effectively with growing attention and concentration. Extend their vocabulary through activities that encourage their interest in words.


Play with language, as a means of developing their interest in language.


Recognise the time of day in relation to regular activities.

Art and design

Explore and experiment with a variety of techniques and materials.


Identify natural features of their own locality. Use atlases and globes.


Investigate indoor and outdoor learning environments.

Northern Ireland

Speaking and listening

Express thoughts, feelings and opinions in response to personal experiences, imaginary situations, literature, media and curricular topics and activities. Present ideas and information with some structure and sequence. Devise and ask questions to find information in social situations and across the curriculum.


Understand and use a range of vocabulary by investigating and experimenting with language.


Recognise times on the analogue clock and digital displays.

Art and design

Explore the visual elements of colour, tone, line, shape, form, space, texture and pattern to express ideas.


Features of the immediate world and comparisons between places.


Interdependence of people and the environment.