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Soaking Sponges

In this activity, children explore absorption through hands-on playing with sponges.

A sponge can absorb water; that is, the water clings to the sponge and fills up the holes in the sponge. You can squeeze the sponge to release the water (but you can't squeeze it completely dry!).

Wet and Dry printable guide.

These activities are part of Science World's Big Science For Little Hands program. They were developed and tested with preschool and kindergarten educators.

Objectives

  • Understand the process of absorption through experimenting with sponges.

Materials

  • Per Child:
    a small sponge
    a clear plastic cup or container

Key Questions

  • Where does the water go?
  • Can you make the sponge dry again?
  • Is the sponge heavier wet or dry? Why?

What To Do

Preparation

Put a little bit of water in each child’s container. Mark the level of the water on the side of the container.

Activity

  1. Give each child a sponge.
  2. Ask them to make their sponge wet with the water in their container. Challenge them to soak up all the water with their sponge.
  3. Once they soak up all the water with their sponge, can they get all the water out again?

Extensions

  • Try soaking up water with different kinds of cloth; for example, nylon from a jacket, a washcloth or fleece. Which kinds of cloth can soak up lots of water? Can you squeeze the water back out?
  • Hold the wet cloths in front of a fan. Which ones dry quickly? Which ones dry slowly?
  • Relate sponges soaking up water to our skin getting wet when we take a bath or go swimming. What do we use to dry off afterwards?