Is it magic or science? Help children begin to understand the effects of evaporation by observing how wet materials dry when exposed to the air or sunlight.

set up ideas:
Ask children to observe the magic of water disappearing. Why does this happen? Where does it go? Discuss or write down some of their theories.

let's get started

Each child will need a piece of colored construction paper and a white crayon. Place a pan or bucket of water with a paint brush around each child. Keep handy paper towels in case of spills. You may want to create clean-up or dry-off stations.

step 1
Give each child a piece of colored construction paper and a white crayon.
step 2
Paint over each child's hands with water using the brush. Have each child press their wet hands on their paper for a few seconds to leave a wet set of handprints.
step 3
When the handprints begin to dry slightly, have each child trace around their handprints with a white crayon.
step 4
After the prints have dried and mostly disappeared, invite the children to guess why the prints disappeared.

Start a simple discussion about evaporation and explain why things dry over time. Ask the children again about their theories. Tell them the answer and explain evaporation. Ask the children if they can think of any other scenarios where evaporation occurs.
Tips and Tricks Tips and Tricks
Avoid messes and spills by using very little water in the dish or pan. Setting up clean-up or dry-off stations can help to keep water from being splashed everywhere.
Follow Up ActivityFollow up Activity
Take it outside! Compare how fast the handprints dry in the sun versus inside. Incorporate this into the conversation.