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Indoor Water Racing and Activity-based Science

It's been so terribly hot over here in Delhi past one month that outdoor play is near impossible. At times I feel helpless that Pari is holed up inside while the holidays are going to get over in another 2 weeks. Having said that, the unbearable summer here for these 3 months – encourages us to travel to cooler locales outside Delhi and explore new places.

And when we are not traveling, we are exploring newer ways to play indoors and beat the heat simultaneously.

Recently, Pari had 'gallons' (literally) of fun playing water racing inside the house with her friend. Weird as it may sound – "water race in the house" – we are excited to discover this unique way to learn and play with water and learn some fun facts about science in the bargain.

I found this idea on this wonderful website put together by Arvind Gupta – "an engineer, a teacher, a toy-maker, a book-lover, a translator" who advocates making science fun for children . This website contains hundreds of ideas for making toys from waste and toys that are based on scientific principles. Kids will LOVE exploring these playful ways to learn about science. Pari is hooked to this resource. Every once in a while she comes to me asking to show her the long list of ideas mentioned. She then chooses any one that she wants to do that day.

We took two empty soda/mineral water bottles and I made two holes each on the bottle caps. The holes should be able to hold straws tightly when inserted.

Pari cut 4 straws to insert. Two smaller straws of same length – for each bottle. And, two longer straws – one smaller than the other.

She then filled the bottles with coloured water (used red food colour for this). This is Pari's favourite activity. She loves mixing food colours in water and watching them turn transparent to colourful.

Now the bottles were ready for the race.

The two girls turned the bottles upside down at the same time, into a bucket.

It was thrilling to watch the water gush out from the two bottles with varied intensity and speed. The eagerly awaited curiosity was – "which bottle will empty first"!

The bottle with the longer straw emtied first because pressure depends on height (depth). More the height, greater the pressure. This also explains why water towers are tall.

The girls played this game over and over again – filling and emptying and refilling.

They also tried another variation by keeping the longer straws in equal length and shorter straws in diffrent length. But, the result was the same as in the first setting.

Before winding up the water racing game, the colourful water was emptied into the indoor fountain and the straws were stuck into the mouth of the tortoises to see how far the tortoise would spit water!

I have kept the bottles intact with the straws so that they can play more often. This was so much fun not just for them but for me as a spectator!

What sort of water games do your kids love playing?

I would love to hear more ideas from you as water play is the most cherished game out here.

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Roopa June 17, 2011, 2:02 pm

    Fantastic idea!! Such fun too. Love it when learning is with playing:) We have 2 of Arvind Gupta’s books and follow his videos on you tube, but did not know he had a website, great!1 Thanks for sharing.

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 22, 2011, 7:46 am

      Thanks :) Arvind Gupta’s website is a rich resource of books, videos and tutorials.
      I am sure you guys will love it…

  • mama roses June 17, 2011, 11:21 pm

    How cool!! Will surely give it a try and look up the site that you’ve recommended. Pari makes such a lovely and good scholar !
    Very daring of you to spare your inlay table for the water activity. Really like it…so similar to the header of your site.

    • Rashmie Jaaju June 22, 2011, 6:05 am

      Roses, Haha – yeah, that inlay table is so beautiful I must take care not to ruin it. But then, Pari uses it only for non-messy play.
      I placed those bottles there to take a few pics because it lends such a nice background :))

  • maggy, red ted art June 20, 2011, 8:49 pm

    Love it! How much fun did you guys have? Loads by the looks of it. And great to combine fun and play with science!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty, was lovely to have you stop by!


    • Rashmie Jaaju June 22, 2011, 6:00 am

      yes, you guessed it right! This activity was loads of fun! And, we learnt some science facts too in the bargain…
      Thank you, dear for stopping by and for hosting the wonderful linky. I always love to stop by to link-up and to check out other ideas from the link-up.

  • Swapna Raghu Sanand June 29, 2011, 6:02 am

    Hi, Enjoyed reading your post, and thanks to Parentree for that! Your description and pictures are really motivating for other parents too. Am mostly into arts, culture, theater and things like that and not science-centric but I liked the conceptualr relevance that you’ve articulated. Looking forward to read more posts from you.

  • Parinita July 11, 2011, 4:31 pm


  • Parinita July 11, 2011, 4:42 pm

    you are very nice how nice is all the
    drawing’s that you make i just love the
    drawing that you make you give me the lettar
    back please and you are a very good mama do you know
    you are such a good mama i ‘am sososo sorry i was enary on you
    sosososososososososososososo sorry please i rekvest you and
    you are very good
    i just love you wow nice mama hana
    love you i dint know that you
    are so nice i like so much ok. parinita

  • Parinita July 11, 2011, 4:52 pm

    mama i just love you draw that you do
    you are so good and i had a dream that
    your baby has come and she is very
    cute but i am not so cute
    i am write and you are so cute
    i think you don’t
    think that you are so cute
    nice nice mama
    and that papa also like you
    love you .parinita

  • hafsa June 1, 2012, 4:57 am

    Hi dear ,
    I really like what you are doing . It’s a great job
    I heard about the heat in the meteo , 47 degrees today in Delhi , woooow
    I will moove to DElhi this Augut and I’m really stressed ans excited about , I like the idea of meeting new people , and knowing about a new and such a great culture. But I’m scared too
    My kids are really exited about it , they are asking question , what can we do for fun and what can we see, soo all the time we are on the internet searching and asking google …..

    thanks again for your website , really inspiring

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