The Water Cycle

Contributor: Samantha Penna. Lesson ID: 11834

You know a bicycle and a motorcycle, but a water cycle? That would be hard to ride! Actually, the water cycle explains how clouds form and make rain, snow, sleet, and hail! Drop in and learn about it!


Earth Science

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Primary (K-2)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start
  • Where does rain come from?
  • What holds the water up in the sky?

The earth is home to many plants, animals, and people.

All living things need the earth's water to survive. Thankfully, there is a water cycle that occurs on the earth that allows freshwater to be recycled over and over again. You will dive into the water cycle and learn how your earth continues to keep and reuse its freshwater and salt water.

freshwater lake

Think about a body of freshwater that is near you, like a lake, pond, river, or reservoir. Picture a big, crystal-clear lake. On a hot, sunny day, the sun warms up the lake. As the lake warms up, this causes the water to evaporate.

When water evaporates, it turns from liquid into water vapor. Water vapor is the gas phase of water.

The plants on the earth also play a role in the water cycle. Plants release moisture into the air. This is called transpiration. The water vapor from evaporation and transpiration follow the flow of the air up into the sky.

Once the water vapor is high in the sky, it cools down. During the cooling process, the water vapor condenses back into liquid form and mixes with dust particles to create clouds. This process is called condensation. This creates rain clouds.

When the air around the cloud gets cool, the water in the rain clouds is released as rain, snow, sleet, or hail. This process is called precipitation. Anytime it is raining, think of the word precipitation.


  • What happens to land when it rains?

Think about a time you played in the rain. You may have worn rain boots and a rain coat to keep dry. When it is raining, all the water finds a place to go.

Rain may seep into the soil, fill up a river or lake, or create puddles on the pavement. All water will eventually evaporate, whether it is in a puddle on the street or in your body, starting the whole cycle over again!

splashing in a puddle

Take a look at the water cycle below and read through all the steps in the cycle.

the water cycle

After reading about the water cycle, move on to the Got It? section to see the water cycle in action!

Image - Button Next