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Fun With Water Siphons

Jul 20, 2015

Our hot Canadian summer is well underway and we've been keeping cool any way we can—our sprinkler, little pool and water table see action every day.

To keep things fun and fresh at the water table, we've been getting creative with extras and additions. 

One of the most successful water table extras kept my little ones cool and engaged for hours! It all started with an old garden hose. 

We were doing some work outside and I came across an old garden hose in the shed. It was in good shape, but I thought to myself, "How many garden hoses do I really need? One should suffice and this one could be fun in the water table—right?"

I used scissors to chop the garden hose into a few different lengths, some fairly long and some quite short.

My idea was to have my little ones experiment and play with siphons. We used the pieces of hose and a water table, plus a bucket placed on the ground. 


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I was determined not to put my mouth on the dirty garden house to start the siphon. Instead, we made the siphon action happen by submerging the piece of hose completely in the water, wiggling it to remove all the air and pinching the end nice and tight when bringing it to the bucket on the ground.

Once we did this a few times together, my five year-old was able to do it all on his own.

A boy uses a garden hose as a water siphon.

I had a bucket next to the water table to drain the water into and then we poured the water right back in to the water table. Again and again and again!

My boys added some pebbles to see if they could siphon them, they played with different water levels and different lengths of hoses. They filled the hoses with water to spray their cars and, eventually, each other.

Then they schemed for a good, long while about how to get Mama over to the table and spray her. Since they had played so well and it was really hot out, I sauntered on over and got that hose water right in my mouth. Gah. Oh well. It was totally worth it.

While my little ones were playing with this siphon, they were exploring some important science topics. Through play, they experienced the effects of water pressure and gravity. When the hose was full of water, there was enough pressure to keep the water flowing up and over the water table. When they took the end of the hose out of the water, the pressure was lost and the water would no longer flow.

All this learning and they kept cool! Well worth the loss of that old garden hose...

Article Author Sarah Noftle
Sarah Noftle

Sarah is a teacher, mama, and wanna-be homesteader. She is home with her kids learning through play, exploring with nature, and surviving parenthood with humour. She writes HowWeeLearn.com which is full of creative and playful learning activities for kids, as well as the occasional post on natural living and farmyard antics. Sarah would love to connect with you on Facebook and Pinterest so she can show you pictures of her chickens (and more relevant things too, of course).

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