Monday, March 3, 2014

Measuring Rainfall

Why not add a scientific spin on a rainy day? Yesterday it was raining 'cats and dogs' so we decided to measure how much rain fell in one day.

Who can play?
Children aged three years and above. All activities depend on the age and stage of development of the child.

When around water you should always be careful of the risk of drowning.

What do you need?

  • Jug, bottle and cup to collect rainwater
  • Separate measuring jug to measure the rainwater in all the containers.
  • A very rainy day
  • Paper and felt tip pens to record the findings

What did we do?
The conditions were perfect for a rainy day experiment, so at 7.30 in the morning, Bee and I placed a jug, cup and bottle outside on the patio. We talked about how much rain they would collect and Bee's answer was "4" I think this was because she will be four next birthday. All that was left to do was wait until 6.00 in the evening to check the results.

Half way through the day, Bee noticed that the bottle had been blown over. This led into a discussion about the powers of the wind and rain and that sometimes it can even blow down trees etc, Bee's reply was "Like the big bad wolf?"... maybe a bit more powerful than that. She enjoyed going back to the window, where she could view the containers, to see if the water level had risen.


Just after dinnertime, we collected the containers from outside and Bee carefully poured each container of rainwater in the measuring jug. We looked at the numbers along the side of the jug. Whilst running our fingers up the jug we counted the volume.

This was then recorded on the Rainfall chart (a raindrop for each fluid ounce) 

Rainfall chart

Bee looked so proud that she could count up to 16 and draw the correct amount of raindrops. I asked lots of questions such as "Which container collected the most rainfall" and "why do you think the jug collected more water than the cup?"

Bee recording her findings on the chart
The chart once it had been completed
At the end of the activity, she asked if we could do this again tomorrow... so we did. The day after had a lot more rain,which was great as we compared our findings from yesterday. Bee said "It rained lots today"


What did we learn?
Creative: Drawing raindrops.Responding to what they see and feel, providing their ideas and thoughts
Physical: Fine manipulative skills when holding and drawing with the felt tip pen. Hand eye coordination when pouring the liquid from one container to the other.
Mathematical: Measuring and learning about capacity. Counting. Record using a tally chart.
Personal, Social and Emotional: Joining in with an activity and cooperating with someone else. Developing competence and independence when pouring out the liquid from one container to the other. Fun and enjoyment.
Knowledge and Understanding of the World: Exploring and finding out about weather conditions.
Communication, Language and Literacy: Recording findings. Talking about what they are seeing and doing. Making raindrop marks on the paper (as Bee is not ready to write number forms yet) Listening to and following instructions.

What could be done next?
On a hot day you could do the experiment the other way around and add water to the containers and see how much evaporates.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks guys. We had a lot of fun with this one. I think we have another scientist on our hands :-)