Pump It Up!

What You Need:

  • 2 rectangular tubs
  • Water
  • Pipettes, or glass bottle droppers
  • 4 pumps, the same used for clear liquid soap
  • Food coloring
  • Spoons
  • Towels

What You Do:

  1. Before creating this science experiment, pour water from a pitcher into a glass and talk to your child about how water always travels downward.
  2. Ask your child if he knows what gravity means. Explain to him that gravity works as an invisible force and pulls things down toward the earth.
  3. Show your child how a pump found in liquid soap defies gravity by pulling liquid up, instead of down.
  4. Have your child fill one of the tubs with water and set it next to the empty tub.
  5. Ask him to pick a favorite color food dye and drop a few drops into the water to make it easier to see.
  6. Give your child the challenge of transferring water from the full tub to the empty tub. He can use spoons, droppers or pipettes and, finally, the pumps!
  7. Ask your child which tool works best to transfer water? Which tool is the quickest? Who, or what is doing the work to move the water?

Voilà! You've now introduced your child to some key physics concepts and unlocked one of the many mysteries of the bathroom sink — not bad for a day's play.

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