The Water Cycle

Learn about the water cycle - how water moves around the world and supports life on Earth - with the help of our simple explanations, printables, slideshows and worksheets. We've provided a range of activities so that you can choose those appropriate for the age and stage of your children. In the UK, children usually learn about the water cycle in Year 4.

The Water Cycle

What is the Water Cycle?

Water on Earth is constantly moving, changing state (from liquid, to gas, to solid) and being recycled.  The water cycle describes this journey. There are 4 main stages in the water cycle: evaporation, condensation, precipitation and collection.

Evaporation:
When the sun heats the surface of seas, lakes, rivers and streams, some of the water changes state and becomes water vapour, mixing with the air. Warm air rises so the water vapour rises too.

Condensation:
When the air cools down, the water vapour condenses back into water droplets. These water droplets collect together and form clouds.

Precipitation:
The water droplets in clouds attract other water droplets to them and they grow bigger. When they get too big and heavy they fall to ground as rain. If the air is cold enough the droplets remain frozen and fall as snow or hail.

Collection:
When the water falls to Earth it collects as streams, rivers or lakes. When it falls on land in can filter in to the Earth and become groundwater or it can flow over the land as run off to meet existing bodies of water.

Some of the water may be taken up by plants and animals. Plants take up water from the ground through their roots. They then ‘breathe’ the moisture out of their leaves into the air.Evaporation accounts for about 90% of the water in the air with transpiration accounting for most of the other 10%.

Our Water Cycle Resources

Water Cycle Board Game

Water Cycle Board Game

Have fun with family or friends by playing this water cycle board game! Print the 4 pages onto card, trim along the dotted lines then tape the pieces together to make one large board.

Water Cycle Cloze

Water Cycle Cloze

How much do your children know about the water cycle? Test them with this fun cloze worksheet. Read the text and fill in the missing words from the word bank.

Water Cycle Colouring Page 2

Water Cycle Colouring Page 2

This simple colouring page shows a clear diagram of the water cycle - perfect for introducing the water cycle process in the classroom to younger children.

Water Cycle Colouring Page 3

Water Cycle Colouring Page 3

This water cycle colouring page has been left blank, so the kids can label the water cycle process themselves as well as colouring in the picture.

Water Cycle Crossword

Water Cycle Crossword

Help the children learn about the water cycle by asking them to have a go at this fun crossword. We've even included the answers separately if they need a little help...

Water Cycle Description Worksheet 1

Water Cycle Description Worksheet 1

This worksheet asks the kids to describe how water travels through the water cycle. We've included a helpful list of the words they'll need in the box on the right, and a picture too. 

Water Cycle Description Worksheet 2

Water Cycle Description Worksheet 2

Can the children describe how water travels through the water cycle using this fun worksheet? We've started them off with four useful words to include in their description.

Water Cycle Display Posters

Water Cycle Display Posters

There are eight display posters in this pack, ready to print and display at home or in the classroom to help teach the kids the different steps of the water cycle. 

Water Cycle Display Slideshow

Water Cycle Display Slideshow

Watch this water cycle pdf slideshow with the kids on your computer screen or whiteboard. There are eight slides to help the kids understand and learn the processes of the water cycle. 

Water Cycle Labelling Worksheet 1

Water Cycle Labelling Worksheet 1

Here's a challenging worksheet for older kids learning about the water cycle. We've listed water cycle words and terms on the right - can the children fill the words into the correct box on the picture? Available in colour, or black and white.

Water Cycle Labelling Worksheet 2

Water Cycle Labelling Worksheet 2

Here's a slightly easier water cycle labelling worksheet for the kids to have a go at. Can they add the four words into the correct box on the picture? We have colour, or black and white versions to choose from below.

Water Cycle Poster 1

Water Cycle Poster 1

Are you learning about the water cycle at the moment? Print off and display this detailed poster to help the kids learn about the process.

Water cycle Poster 2

Water Cycle Poster 2

This colourful water cycle poster shows the ecological process in a clear and simple way, so it's perfect for introducing the kids to the water cycle topic. For best results print using the borderless settings on your printer.

Water Cycle Poster 3

Water Cycle Poster 3

We've left this water cycle poster blank, so that it can be labelled by the kids as part of learning about the water cycle process in the classroom.

Water Cycle Story Paper - Blank

Water Cycle Story Paper - Blank

This water cycle story paper comes in black and white or colour, and lined or with handwriting lines. There are no labels on the water cycle picture, so can the kids describe the water cycle process themselves? 

Water Cycle Story Paper - Labelled 1

Water Cycle Story Paper - Labelled 1

Use this story paper featuring a detailed diagram of the water cycle to write your own description of the water cycle process - we've got four versions to choose from below, either lined or with handwriting lines, and in colour or black and white.

Water Cycle Story Paper - Labelled 2

Water Cycle Story Paper - Labelled 2

There's plenty of space to describe what happens in the water cycle on this story paper - and we've got both lined and handwriting versions to suit different ages and abilities. We also have two black and white versions if you'd prefer to colour in the picture too...

Water Cycle Word Cards

Water Cycle Word Cards

This printable set of water cycle word cards contains 15 words or phrases all associated with the water cycle process. Perfect for labelling diagrams and for vocabulary work.

Water Cycle Word Search

Water Cycle Word Search

We've hidden 17 words all about the water cycle in this word search grid, and the children need to try and find them! We've included the solution too if you need it...

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