Evaporation Experiment

Evaporation experiment

This evaporation experiment uses recycled materials to explore evaporation. Kids can use the recycled materials projects as a science science experiment to explore how evaporation works with different sized containers.

Evaporation experiment for kids. This is a great fine motor activity, too!

Evaporation Experiment

This was SUCH a fun way to explore science with my kids.  We talked about water evaporation while engineering a few different water containers and working in a bit of math, too.  Getting outside to play is something we do everyday, so this outdoor STEM activity was a perfect way to bring a little bit of learning outdoors on a sunny day.

Evaporation experiment using recycled materials

Evaporation Experiment with Recycled Materials

Use bottle caps and recycled materials in an evaporation experiment for kids.

To complete this science experiment, we used all items from our recycle bin.  You’ll need a few items to do this evaporation experiment at home:

  • Lids from various containers. (We used lids of various sizes to explore how fast water would based on container size. Some lids you’ll want are deep lids, bottle caps, and low lids like one from a play dough canister.) If you have a recycled materials craft bin started, just pull from there.
  • Other recycled materials to see if we could adjust the lids that were alike.
  • Tape (This was the only non-recycled material that we used in this science experiment.)
  • Eye-dropper, small spoon, or a straw to drop water into the cups and containers.
Use these recycled materials in an evaporation experiment with preschoolers.

Evaporation Activity for Kids

To set up this evaporation experiment, we worked on a bit of fine motor skills and visual perceptual skills. First we expored each container, lid, and cup to determine which was biggest, smallest, and which we thought would hold more water.

This is a great evaporation activity for preschoolers!

Determining the containers by size allows preschoolers to explore visual perceptual skills and size concepts.

Next, you’ll need to add the same amount of water to each cup or container. There are several ways you can do this: by using an eye dropper, small spoon (like a teaspoon), or the end of a straw. We used a dropper to fill each lid with the same amount of water. Each lid had 10 ml of water.  

You can use the end of a straw to drop water drops into the cups. When you use the straw, kids are working on so many fine motor skills. We talked about how to do this (and why using a straw to drop water into the cups) is such an awesome way to build precision and dexterity in this butterfly painting craft.

My preschooler had fun scooping water into the lids and counted the measurements.

We then noticed how we had four containers that were all the same size.  The other lids were various sizes.  

To the four lids of the same size, we modified the containers slightly to see how the top would affect rate of evaporation.  We covered one with foil.  Another was covered with plastic wrap and poked with small holes. The third was covered with mesh. The fourth container was left open to the air.

Related: You could take this evaporation experiment further and use ice cubes that then melt and evaporate. Here is information on the motor benefits of scooping ice. The ice cubes would then have to melt to a liquid and then go through the process of evaporating to a gas state.

Evaporation Experiment Predictions

I asked my kids from which lid they thought water would evaporate more quickly.  

My preschooler said she thought the smallest lid (the bottle cap) would evaporate first because it was the smallest lid.  She thought the play dough lid’s water would evaporate slowest because it was the biggest lid.  She hypothesized that of the four containers that were the same size, the open container would evaporate first and the covered container would evaporate last. 

I thought her answers were interesting and clearly following Piaget’s conservation theory.  In this case, she thought the bottle cap appeared to have more water because it was filled to the brim, where the large and low play dough lid was only slightly covered with water.

Recycled materials water evaporation STEM Science experiment

My older kiddos had different answers:  They thought the play dough lid would evaporate first because it had less “deepness” (or depth).  We decided that the sun would shine and evaporate this lid’s water first.

They agreed with my preschooler when they said they thought the uncovered lid would evaporate before the covered lid. 

Recycled materials water evaporation STEM Science experiment

While we made good hypotheses with this experiment, we ran into a bit of bad weather luck following our outdoor science.  Our sunny day turned into several days of rain and gloomy skies.  We’re still waiting for our water to evaporate and will update this post when we have some results!

 Outdoor STEM ideas

This post is part of the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM Activities series.  Stop by and see all of the ideas shared.

Recycled materials water evaporation STEM Science experiment

You will love these STEM activities that we’ve shared:
Recycled materials Fulcrum and Lever
Lemon STEM science experiment ideas
Tinker Toys STEM Pulley

Colleen Beck, OTR/L is an occupational therapist with 20 years experience, graduating from the University of Pittsburgh in 2000. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. As the creator, author, and owner of the website and its social media channels, Colleen strives to empower those serving kids of all levels and needs. Want to collaborate? Send an email to contact@theottoolbox.com.

Baking Soda Vinegar Powered Boat STEM

This baking soda and vinegar powered boat was such a fun way to build and explore movement powered by science.  My kiddos and a nephew built this boat using recycled materials, (a lot like we did last week with our evaporation experiment).  This boat required a baking soda and vinegar reaction to power movement across water.  It’s the perfect outdoor STEM activity! 

Baking soda and vinegar react in this movement and power STEM activity to power a boat made with recycled materials. This is a fun outdoor STEM science experiment for kids.

Baking Soda and Vinegar Powered Boat

This post contains affiliate links.

My kids LOVE baking soda and vinegar reaction STEM activities.  They’ve tried a rocket and volcano so I knew they would love this boat activity.

This recycled boat was pretty easy to put together.  We a recycled used Styrofoam egg carton to cut a triangular shape.  To that, we taped a plastic lid.  We used two small pieces of straws and taped them to the back of the boat and coming from the lid.  With that, our boat was ready for power.

Baking soda and vinegar react in this movement and power STEM activity to power a boat made with recycled materials. This is a fun outdoor STEM science experiment for kids.

A tip for the boat construction:  Be sure the straws are taped securely in the lid and parallel to the water surface.  We used electrical tape for this job.

Next, fill the lid with baking soda.  We have this HUGE bag of baking soda and love it.  The quantity is perfect for experiments that kids want to do over and over again. 

Baking soda and vinegar react in this movement and power STEM activity to power a boat made with recycled materials. This is a fun outdoor STEM science experiment for kids.

Carefully pour in vinegar and watch the boat sail across the water. We noticed that our first run was the best and we think it was because the straws were better positioned at the start of our STEM activity.  We also tried aiming the straws down into the water and that seemed to help with powering movement, better too.

 We did this boat activity in a tub outside, but want to try it in a larger area like a baby pool very soon.  One of the kids said we should build a cruise ship and make it go with baking soda and vinegar.  I’ll be sure to share how that project pans out 😉

This post is part of the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM series.  Stop by and see all of the STEM fun!

Baking soda and vinegar react in this movement and power STEM activity to power a boat made with recycled materials. This is a fun outdoor STEM science experiment for kids.

Let us know if you make a baking soda and vinegar powered boat!

More STEM ideas you will love:

Recycled Materials STEM Lever and Fulcrum

I love reusing recyclables in crafts and activities.  One thing my kids might love even more is science and STEM activities.  We decided to use some materials we had in the recycle bin to make a lever and fulcrum.  This is a perfect STEM activity to do with the kids over the summer to promote learning, creativity, and problem solving.  The Summer Slide is a real thing and simple, easy projects like this one are fun ways to build skills as a family.  Our Lever and Fulcrum STEM activity led to cheers with all four of the kids.

And when the kids are cheering for science, engineering, and math, it is perfectly OK for Mom to do an inner cheer, too.
Build a lever and fulcrum with recycled materials in this STEM activity that is perfect for kids to do over the summer at home or at summer camp to prevent the summer slide!

Recycled Materials Lever and Fulcrum STEM Activity

There are so many items found in your recycle bin that can be used in STEM activities.  Today, we pulled out a few materials to build a lever and fulcrum.  We used a recycled chopstick, a toilet paper tube, and two coffee pods.  

Build a lever and fulcrum with recycled materials in this STEM activity that is perfect for kids to do over the summer at home or at summer camp to prevent the summer slide!
To make the lever and fulcrum:  Poke a hole in each of the coffee pods.  We used a sharp skewer to do this.  you will want the holes to be at the same height on each pod.  Insert one end of the chop stick into each pod.  Finally, fold the toilet paper tube into a triangular shape. The cardboard tube will be the fulcrum and the chop stick can rest evenly on the tube and act as a lever. 
Build a lever and fulcrum with recycled materials in this STEM activity that is perfect for kids to do over the summer at home or at summer camp to prevent the summer slide!
Now for the fun part:  It was time to play and learn with our STEM activity!
  • We added crafting pom poms to each cup and counted how many were needed to keep the lever even.  
  • We talked about the distance between the ends of the chop stick and how the fulcrum needed to be in the center in order for the lever to be even.  
  • We tried moving the fulcrum and measured the distance between the ends of the chop stick and the fulcrum.  
  • When the fulcrum was off center, we counted how many craft pom poms were needed to make the lever even again. 
I was kind of amazed at how much all four of my kids were totally absorbed by this STEM activity.  It was enough to make me smile (and cheer some more, on the inside!) for their love of science, technology, engineering, and math.
Build a lever and fulcrum with recycled materials in this STEM activity that is perfect for kids to do over the summer at home or at summer camp to prevent the summer slide!

STEM Summer Camp


Lemon STEM Science Ideas

I am one of three sisters.  You might remember that this blog started out as a meeting place for us gals to share our ideas.  Well, times change and blogs change, but there is one thing that never changes:  sisters.  You grow up with them, you fight with them, you make some crazy funny memories with them, you grow up some more, and then you laugh at those memories. (And occasionally you laugh so hard you spit out water…causing more laughter.) 

There is one thing for certain.  Sisters have a bond that is like no other.  

So, when I became a mama to three little girls (and their super-chill brother), I was over the moon and back to watch these sisters grow just like I did with my two siblings.  Now that they are getting a little older, I can see my oldest nurture the younger ones and the little sisters look up to their big sis.  (And I won’t lie.  They fight.  Like Mom-wants-to-fly-back-to-the-moon-and-stay-there kind of fighting.)  But happily playing or fighting, they are sisters.

One thing I love to watch is when these girls play.  They’ve got some super sweet scenarios that happen on a daily basis.  Playtime in our house involves clipboards, checklists, tons of purses, glue, and the occasional microphone.  The big two have big imaginations and even bigger hearts and it is so fun to watch my youngest look up the them with wide eyes and take it all in.  

As a mom, I’ve noticed that my girls watch.  They watch what I do, they watch what each other does, and they notice.  So, when I had the opportunity to introduce them to the Green Works StemBox, I jumped at the chance.  Introduce them to creativity through STEM?  Sounds great! Encourage my children to get excited about science and math? YES! Unleash natural potential in my girls by experiencing science projects? I like it. 
Lemon STEM ideas for kids

And the best for me, was watching my girls do this together.  The baby saw her big sister in safety goggles as she learned about cathodes and electrolytes…and has been wearing the goggles every day since.  Seeing them inspire each other was just awesome.

When we opened the GreenWorks StemBox, we were excited to get started on our experiment; We were making lemon powered batteries!

I was surprised to read that only 1 in 1,000 girls pursue STEM careers, especially considering that out us us three sisters, two of us are in the health/science field.  Encouraging my girls to explore interests in science is important to me so reading more about the Green Works StemBox was very interesting.  In order to inspire girls to seek out a career in science, GreenWorks has partnered with StemBox to create monthly subscription box aimed at providing hands-on science experiments to explore science, math, engineering and technology.  Green Works is helping the next generation of female scientists to discover their natural potential in the field of science.  Green Works supports girls in STEM and knows that when women get involved in science, great things happen.  Their story started with a female scientist, Maria Ochomogo, who led a team that created the laundry and household cleaners that make up today’s Green Works line of products. 

A portion of each Green Works StemBox subscription will be donated to the AAUW, (The American Association of University Women) in order to continue the empowerment of women and girls through education, advocacy, research, and philanthropy.  Check out GreenWorksCleaners.com for more information.

After reading all of that, I was super pumped to get my girls excited about our science experiment…and the enthusiasm was catchy!

Lemon STEM Ideas

We pulled out all of the items in our lemon experiment box:
LED Bulb
4 Lemons ( not included )
Alligator Clips
Zinc Nails
Copper Wire
Instructions Page
Green Works Wipes
Mini Clock
STEM Sticker

Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
And we got started on our STEM project.  The instructions were printed out with easy to follow images.  

Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
First, we used the convenient Green Works Wipes to swipe away a few of the the baby’s sticky crumbs from our dining room table.  (Sticky toddlers love science, too.)

Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
  • Following the instructions, my eight year old build a lemon powered battery that lit up a light bulb.  We tried a few more experiments, like the mini fruit clock that came in the kit.  

  • We pulled out some bamboo skewers and created a sky high lemon battery and lit up the light bulbs using engineering in our STEM activity.

  • With all of the zinc nail-punctured holes in our lemons, we HAD to squeeze the juice.  We tried to see if we could create a lemon clock using just the lemon juice in a cup.  It worked!  

  • After the lemons were juiced, we tried to make another light bulb glow using the rinds.  This time the lights did not brighten and we decided it was because the electrolytes were squeezed away into our lemon juice and the current stopped at the rind.  

After all of these experiments, we were feeling a little thirsty.  Non-lemon powered light bulbs went off and so my four year old had a bright idea to make lemonade.  We added water and sugar and drank away the electrolytes!

It was so much fun to see my girls working together, encouraging each other, (not fighting), and being inspired in science.  Someday they might look back at our experiment day and laugh at drinking their science experiment, but I’ll remember the sticky crumbs on the table, the goggles on the one year old, and the fun we all had learning together.

Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
Want to get a StemBox subscription for your home or for girls you know?  
Stem Boxes are designed to be fun and engaging for girls ages 7 to 13.
Subscription cost:
Month to month = $36
3 month pre-pay = $28
6 month pre-pay = $170
Check out more info on StemBox here.
Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids

Lemon STEM Science experiment ideas for kids
Looking for more STEM ideas for kids?  You will love these:

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Green Works . The opinions and text are all mine.

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Tinker Toys STEM Pulley

This week in our Early Learning series, we’re covering STEM.  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math are all over the place these days.  And there is good reason, too.  STEM learning is present in classrooms, summer camps, after-school programs, and even library programs.  Today, I’m sharing classic STEM.  This is the STEM of my childhood and one that I’m so excited to share with my kids: Tinker Toys!  

We used the classic toy, Tinker Toys with STEM concepts to create a Tinker Toy pulley.  Now, this was fun!

Build a Tinker Toys Pulley system and explore STEM concepts in learning with kids.

Tinker Toys STEM project: Build a Pulley

This post contains affiliate links.

We were lucky enough to find a set of Tinker Toys at a garage sale but they are available here.  Our set is a little beat up (And it even has original container from years gone by!) but it worked for building a pulley system.  This was a hit with my kids as we discovered and explored all four parts of STEM education:

Build a Tinker Toys Pulley system and explore STEM concepts in learning with kids.

Science with Tinker Toys– We talked about the physics behind a pulley system, including the load and the effort required to make the pulley work. Our pulley was designed to pull a string along a strait path to carry a load from one point to another.  We talked about energy with our pulley.

Technology with Tinker ToysI’ve read that the technology portion of STEM learning can relate to any product made that meets a need or want, including items like a pencil or a chair.   Our technology was the machine (the pulley) that could transport items from one place to another.  We created a machine to do a job.

Engineering with Tinker Toys–  Tinker Toys might be one of the most classic engineering toys there is.  Children of all ages have used these building toys to create whatever their imagination could dream up.  We were able to engineer a pulley system with trial and error to find the right height, length, and support for our pulley.  After trial and error, we determined that our pulley needed a better base of support.  To adjust for lack of width in the base, we added play dough to hold the legs in place.

Math with Tinker Toys–  For our pulley, we tried different lengths of string.  We measured the lengths and decided on the best length to pull clothes pins from one point to anther.  We then added more clothes pins and noted how much the string drooped when we added more pins.  We then had to adjust the distance of the pulley legs to accommodate the weight.   What a great way to combine math and engineering in this “tinkering” STEM activity! 

NOTE: Our clothes pins were multi-colored but I’m not able to find that exact item anymore.  You are able to purchase individual colors of clothes pins, here.  

Build a Tinker Toys Pulley system and explore STEM concepts in learning with kids.

Build a Tinker Toys Pulley system and explore STEM concepts in learning with kids.

Looking for more STEM activities for kids?  Try these:

Build a Tinker Toys Pulley system and explore STEM concepts in learning with kids.

Love this idea?  SHARE it on Facebook! 

Tell me, did you play with Tinker Toys as a kid?  Have you ever made a pulley as a child?

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Experiments with Air Drag and Streamlined Shapes

Today’s experiment with streamlined vehicles and shapes was a very fun way to learn about air drag!  My son loves anything with experiments or discovery, so this STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) activity was right up his alley.  We discovered why sports cars have pointed fronts and a little about how an object’s shape affects it’s movement with drag and airflow.  
Experiment with streamlined shapes and airflow to discover drag.  This is a fun STEM activity for kids!

Experimenting with Air Drag and Streamlined Vehicles

 We used just a few materials for this experiment (I’m including the affiliate links for your convenience.)
You’ll need: 
Two identical toy cars.  We used ones similar to these.
colored cardstock, cut into rectangles
clear tape 
hair dryer 
foam board
stack of books

streamlined shapes vehicles and experiments with airflow and drag.
This is an easy STEM activity to set up.  Cut the cardstock into strips that are as wide as the cars.  You’ll want the length to be a little longer than the cars, but even with the end.  I taped the edge of the cardstock rectangle to the front of each car, then bent one into a curved shape and the other into an right angle shape.  The cardstock is a good material for this experiment because it holds the curve and angled shapes well.  Regular paper will not work as well.  Finally, snip the edge of the cardstock so that it ends at the end of each car.

Prediction:  Ask your child their predictions!  What will the shapes do to the cars?  Will one shape go faster? Why?  What will happen when air is applied to the cars?  

Experimenting with streamlined shapes
Now comes the fun part: the streamlined shapes experiment!

Stack a few books and prop one end of the foam board up.  You can use any flat surface for this project, but the foam board was the right length and perfect for both cars to travel without sailing over the edge.  

First line each car up on the edge of the foam board.  This is a fun activity in itself; sending toy cars down planks and ramps is a great boredom buster! 

Experiment with force, but just tapping the cars down the ramp and pushing.  More force gives them more speed!  We noticed that both cars went down the ramp at the same time.   Be sure to push the cars over the edge of the ramp at exactly the same time.

Experiment with air flow, drag, and resistance with streamlined shapes
Next, we applied a source of air to the bottom of the ramp.  Turn on the hair dryer and aim the air toward the cars going down the ramp.  Now, the curved car went faster!  

What is happening?  The car with the streamlined shape travels faster because it’s shape disturbs less of the air.  The car with the angular shape disturbs air as it travels.  This unstreamlined shape increases the force called drag and slows the car down.  

What is drag? Drag is air resistance caused by disturbances in the flow of air over an object.  This force slows down moving objects like the cars in our experiment.  

Have fun with your air flow experiments!  You might also like our Bernoulli’s Principle air glider project: