Water Cycle Diagram for Kids

› Water Cycle Diagram Project

Here it is - a water cycle diagram for kids.  Ok, this project totally happened by accident but it was amazing and the students totally understood the water cycle at the end.   

This project is all about bringing the water cycle for kids down to a child's level. It is tied into our author study of Eric Carle.

We talk about how he develops his illustrations and the techniques that he uses, paying particular attention to how he layers color.


water cycle diagram for kids projectWater Cycle Diagram Project
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Then we refer back to our science journals and the clouds we diagrammed and labeled after reading Little Cloud.

The shapes Little Cloud turned himself into are what we use for our pictures of the water cycle.

For this project, we use different mediums (but easy and kid friendly!) for each part of the hydrologic cycle and the students are to label their work.

Ok, they don't always spell everything right, but they remember what the water cycle is and how it works!




Plan two days to make this water cycle diagram. You will need:

  • shapes for the kids to trace similar to the ones Little Cloud made in the story
  • cotton balls (medium to big because they are easier for little fingers to pull apart)
  • blue tempera paint diluted with water (in a squirt bottle)
  • silver glitter
  • baggies (gallon size) or sheets of sara wrap.
  • crayons
  • glue
  • large sheets of white construction paper


Instructions for Students:

  1. Trace a cloud shape at the top of their paper.
  2. Draw and color the sun at the top left hand corner and the water on the bottom. Be sure to make both of these large and layer your color like Eric Carle does.
  3. Fill in your cloud shape with cotton balls. It works best if you put glue on the paper, pull your cotton balls apart a bit to fluff them out, then press on.
  4. Cut your baggie down the sides to make a large rectangle. Cut off the top then crumple it up. The wrinkles will help it look like there are waves in the water. Glue the baggie over your water (be sure to get all of the sides glued down).
  5. Draw wavy arrows going up towards the sky from your water. This will show evaporation.
  6. Use the spray bottle and spritz rain on the other side, coming down from the cloud. Let your picture dry then go to the next step (end of Day 1).
  7. Put glue over your paint and sprinkle a bit of glitter on top of the rain to make it sparkle.
  8. Label the parts of the water cycle.


Here are two recommended sources for more information about the water cycle, clouds and some really fun experiments:


A Yummy Idea for Teaching the Water Cycle

steps of the water cycleSteps of the Water Cycle
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Before I could even get this live on the site, my friend Mallory sent an idea over. She does an edible water cycle project - yummy!

  • candy orange slices(sun)
  • mini marshmallows (group together to make cloud)
  • raisins(rain drops)
  • graham crackers & blue icing (spread the blue icing on the cracker to make the puddle)

Give each student their bag of materials and let them build the water cycle independently. In order to eat their assignment they have to first name each part of the water cycle.

Very fun and easy!


There are some other great science projects here and here!


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