PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

This afternoon, Engineer and Snoopy were focused on a very important construction project on the back deck.  They brought some of Engineer’s PVC pipes over to the water table to see what they could make.  I had an absolute blast watching them build and rebuild the pipes, test them out, and giggle before starting again.

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

The boys built a variety of shapes using lengths of PVC pipes and fittings.  At first, they were content pouring water in the pipes to see how long it would take them to overflow.

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

From there, they tried to make longer, more complicated pipe structures.  I found it really interesting to watch as they tried to figure out why the water wasn’t flowing up (the starting point for the water was lower than the water output at the time).  Since Engineer is so curious, he and I have already had a discussion about how water flows down. I could see his face light up when he remembered it, telling Snoopy, “water goes down!”  I asked him how he planned to move the water if he knew that.  I swear he looked at me as if I was leaking brain cells, then said, “Mama, we just keep putting more and more and more water in until there’s no more room!”  They did just that, adding water until it had nowhere to go but out.

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

Next, they set about transferring water from the water table to a bowl on the picnic table.  They got that taken care of rather quickly, then had fun pouring tons of water through the pipes.  At this point, Little Hurricane came on the scene.  He loved watching the water run out the end of the pipes!

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

After watching the water for a while, Little Hurricane had fun trying to catch it in his hands.  So much so that he belly-laughed while jumping up and down.  That just about cracked me up!

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

Little Hurricane also tried catching the water in cups.  It was hysterical to watch him “yell” at the pipes when water wasn’t coming out.  Then he decided blowing bubbles with the PVC pipe was more fun.

PVC Pipe Physics for Kids

Obviously, I didn’t plan this activity for the boys.  It came about organically, with Engineer and Snoopy leading the way.  I love planning activities for my kiddo and my students, of course.  But there’s just something about observing as children make their own plans come to fruition with little or no help from me.  The only thing I did here was ask a question or two and hold the pipes when asked.

Shared at Weekly Kids Co-Op, THE Pin-It PartyWe Made That, Outdoor Play Party, Empty Your Archive

Comments

    • says

      Thanks so much, Jackie!! :) The kids have had waaaaay too much fun with it, let me tell you!! The older boys at one point worked together to spray Little Hurricane down! Lots of giggles, and hours of fun (and we’ve done this activity over and over and over).

    • says

      Love the outdoor play party, so thanks for hosting! Yes, this one activity keeps the children engaged for hours on end! I always love watching what they build and listening to their giggles and excited comments. :)

  1. Laurie L says

    My 6yr old would LOVE LOVE LOVE this!!! I have never done something like this before and would love to suprise him…Would you be willing to supply a list of the different lengths & diameters of pipe and the different types of fittings (elbows, etc) that you used for the “kit”, along with the quantities of each? That would be absolutely great!! Thank you!!!

    • says

      Oh Laurie, I’m so happy to hear that! My son is still very fascinated by projects like this! I don’t have a set list for the pvc pipes we have at the house, as we randomly expand our set. It just depends on the projects we’re thinking of, or if we happen to be at the hardware store. :) We’ve gotten many different lengths of 1-inch PVC pipes with all of the fittings — elbows, Ts, crosses, etc.

    • says

      Aw, thanks Alice! This is one of those favorite activities we’ve done for years. Every age I’ve tried it with has enjoyed it too! I hope you can find some pipes in your shed. :)

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