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under5s - puddles

Small and large objects which will float e.g.. matchsticks, polystyrene food trays, squeezy bottles, acorns, twigs, leaves, sponge, loofah.  Small and large objects which will sink, e.g. beads, coins, nails, stones, spoons, plasticine.  Chalk.  Straws and tubing.  Wellington boots.  Tyres, hoops, wheeled toys.


(1) Look at puddles with no equipment.  Discuss the concept of reflection. Look into puddle when water is absolutely still. Note the effect of the wind.  What happens to water and reflection? Does a sunny or cloudy day make any difference?

(2)  Deliberately cause disturbances on the water by gently dropping small objects into the puddle.  Note the pattern the ripples make

(3)  Try dropping objects near the edge of the puddle.  Compare the patterns made with previous patterns.

(4)  What happens when you cause a disturbance with your hand, your finger etc.  Extend descriptive language, dabbling, patting, splashing, trickling etc.  Listen to the sounds it makes.

(5)  Why do some objects float whilst others sink?  Get the children to predict why do some objects move in the middle of the puddle and not at the edge. Discuss concept of shallow/deep.

(6)  Blow with straws on the water noticing how the ripples are formed.  How do they behave when they reach a floating object?

(7)  Blow into the water. .How are the bubbles made?  What's inside the bubble?  Listen to the sounds.  Does it matter how hard you blow?  What can you see in the bubbles?  Does it matter if it is a sunny or cloudy day?

(8)  Note what happens when insects land on puddles.  Why don't they sink?

(9)  Ride through puddles on bikes, trikes, roll tyres, hoops etc., through cuddles.  Note marks made, discuss length and shape of pattern.  Record results by placing paper adjacent to puddle. Perhaps colour puddles with powder paints.

(10) Walk through puddles in Wellington boots.  Notice patterns made, count them, compare for length, size, talk about pairs, discuss left and right.

(11) Make "artificial" puddles in sand pit by placing polystyrene in hollows.  Note the way the water finds its own level and shape.

(12) Estimate size of puddle by jumping over, or stepping over etc. How could you cross it without getting your feet wet?  Discuss ways of travelling across or on water.

(13) Chalk round puddle, look again later.  Note the effects of rain or sun.  Discuss concept of evaporation.


Floating, sinking, blowing, bubbling, ripples, waves, circular, drop, dribble, drip, droplet, shiny, splash, trickle etc.


  • Some objects sink and some float, some will do both.
  • Some objects absorb water, whilst others don't. 
  • Water finds its own level and shape.
  • When disturbed, water makes waves which go out in circles.
  • These waves will go under floating objects.
  • Air can go through water. 
  • The sun will evaporate water. 
  • Objects and people are reflected in water.
under5s - puddles
home > puddles