Free play-based STEAM activities for kids

Fun and easy play-based STEAM activity for toddlers, preschool & kindergarten

Drip, Drip, Drop - Fun science & arts activity about rain & absorption capacity

Easy supplies science & arts activity

Activity summary

This is not JUST another science activity – it’s a play-based, hands-on STEAM activity. It will keep your children extra engaged & motivated, which helps them learn!

In this activity, your children will be little investigators helping Kelvin the investigator to solve tricky problems and find creative answers to the question: How can I make it rain inside? By doing that, they get to practice concepts like rain, absorption capacity, and more.

Duration icon Activity length: 20-30 minutes

Subject icon Subjects: Science, Arts, Language

Adapt for your age group

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Beginner: Ages 3-4 Standard: Ages 4-6 Advanced: Ages 6-8

Supply list

For this activity, you need only these simple supplies:

  • glue

  • small transparent jars or cups for the colored water

  • pipettes

  • masking tape

  • light blue cardstock/paper

  • blue food coloring/watercolor

  • cotton pads

  • bin bags/table covers

Supplies for circle time

  • blanket/fabric for making a cave

You can also use

  • other food coloring

  • cotton, foam, and pieces of paper towel

  • decoration, for example, glitter

What will your children learn?

Your children will learn to:

  • Observe the absorption capacity of a cotton pad and the running of the color droplets.

  • Compare the tracks left by the color droplets.

  • Throw yourself into an imaginary play and practice communicating your own observations.

  • Visualize rain through an art experiment.

while practicing these concepts:

  • rain
  • absorption capacity


Step 1: Introduce the problem with a story letter

Play-based learning starting circle
Teacher introducing the reseach problem through the letter that arrived from Supraland

In this play-based activity, your children will lead the investigation as an investigator. When children role play as investigators, they learn so much better! Try starting with a little ‘spin’ to get into character! Then, they can help Kelvin the investigator solve some tricky problems in their new role.

Before the activity, prepare your supplies and print the letter.

Pro tip:

When children play as scientists, they think like scientists. Try using “scientist jackets” to help them really get into character!

When you start the activity, introduce the research problem in the form of a letter that arrived from Supraland where Kelvin the investigator lives.

You might be wondering: “Why should I use a story?”

Well, when you introduce a research problem through play and imaginary characters rather than just stating cold facts, children will be extra motivated to solve the problem for their new imaginary friends. Academic research shows this results in increased engagement, better focus, and improved learning outcomes.

You can find the story for this activity below (register for free to print this & many more free activities!).

Hello investigator friends! My name is Kelvin.

I was outside playing with Hoseli the robot when we found an amazing cave.

Inside, we saw a cute Sugar Mouse! The mouse was all sugar from the tip of its nose, all the way to its tail. Sadly, when it rains, the Sugar Mouse will always have to stay inside so that it doesn’t get wet, dissolve and disappear.

I just love the rain.

I think it is so sad that the Sugar Mouse can never see the rain droplets dancing in the air, hear the powerful pitter-patter, or feel the wonderful rain on its skin. What a pity!

Hoseli had this excellent idea: let’s create some pretend rain in the cave so that the Sugar Mouse can also experience it!

Can you become investigators and help us make some rain?

Pattering regards,


(Idea: Here, you could use a mouse-finger puppet or similar to enhance the activities.)

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Step 2: Have the kids conduct the experiment

Preschool science & arts activity project Kids conducting a play-based activity Children experimenting
Activity photos

After the child understands the problem, it’s time for some hands-on experimenting!

When children are doing the experiment, remind them why they want to solve the problem – to help Kelvin the investigator. This helps them stay engaged. If they get stuck, you can ask supporting questions like: “What do you think might help Kelvin the investigator to solve this problem?” If needed, you can get more ideas for guiding questions and adaptation tips for different age groups (register here to get free weekly activities).

Here are the basic steps for his activity:

Stage 1: Making a Sky

  1. Tape two colored paper sheets together, matching the shorter sides. Place it tape-side down on the table

  2. Make a beautiful white cloudy sky by gluing cotton wool to the upper part of the card. Meanwhile, you can describe to the Sugar Mouse what the clouds look like.

Stage 2: Rain

  1. Hang the papers on a wall or an edge of a table. Remember to protect the wall and the floor with a bin bag or similar.

  2. Stick a picture of the Sugar Mouse and Kelvin looking at the cloudy sky (printout) next to the paper. 

  3. Set the third paper on the floor or under the hanging paper.

  4. Reflect together: What would happen if we pipet colored water to the cotton sky? Listen to the children's ideas.  

  5. Measure first one pipette of colored water on top of one cotton pad. Observe: What happens? Where does the water go?

  6. Measure another pipette of colored water: What happens now?

  7. You can reflect and estimate together, how many pipettes can one pipette before the water starts running down the paper?

  8. Observe and admire the colored water running down the paper and its trace: What happens to the colored water? What do the traces look like?

  9. Interpret: Why did the water start running down??

  10. Explain to the Sugar Mouse: What does the rain look like?

  11. Listen to the water drops falling to the paper on the floor and observe the traces they leave. Compare the tracks left by the drops on the paper on the floor and on the wall. The droplets form little pools of water! Tell the Sugar Mouse: what could you do in the puddle?!

  12. Paint more traces on the paper by pipetting. You can use different colors. Enjoy the visuality of this experiment and create stories together: What kind of rain could there be in Supraland? 

Pro tip: give children the freedom to get creative and explore their own solutions!

  • Remember: It’s an imaginary world. It’s more than ok if children don’t give the “correct” answers right away – give them time to practice their skills.
  • Academic research shows children learn best through child-led play and inquiry rather than following strict instructions or memorizing facts because play allows them to build meanings and connections in an age-appropriate way.
  • This perhaps unintuitive approach is also proven to keep children more engaged and improve their learning outcomes.

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Step 3: Conclude the story

Play-based learning ending circle
Adult wrapping up a play-based activity by encouraging children to share their findings with the character they’re helping.

To encourage children to analyze and share their learnings, you can gather in a circle to report to Kelvin the investigator.

Again, lead with the problem the character was experiencing in the letter. Encourage sharing wild and creative solutions without correcting children if they don’t fully understand the concept.

Remember: in playful learning, we’re not leading with scientific explantions – we’re putting the problem at hand into a context that makes sense to them. We can start building meanings from there.

Scientific explanation (for adults!)

This experiment utilizes imagination and plays to recreate the rain. The tiny water droplets condensed into the clouds collide with each other and join together. Once they are heavy enough, they fall to the ground as rain.

Is this REALLY for free?

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With the free subscription, you get 1 free lesson per week which is typically more than enough to get started. See our pricing to get unlimited access to all lesson plans and training materials.

Click here to register for free - or if you prefer reading more about different plans, click here.

What others love about Kide’s activities

Julia, Preschool Teacher


Preschool Teacher


This program is incredible. The characters, the stories, the experiments are so much fun. I do not need to spend any time planning. Everything I need is given to me be Kide Science.

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Elsa, Kindergarten Teacher


Kindergarten Teacher


Super easy to plan, and the items are usually things that we already have. Planning is made very easy & the children are very motivated!

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Marju, Parent




Was just observed doing one of these lessons. Principal was shocked and so was I - one of the kids with pretty severe attention issues was engaged the entire time!

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Kids attending a lesson with stories