Water Cycle Experiments & Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain

Water Cycle Experiments - Mud Hut Mama

We are continuing with our homeschool as much as we can while we are in Botswana. Since we arrived to the worst drought Botswana has had in years, it made a lot of sense to study the water cycle with Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema and a Magic School Bus episode. This post contains affiliate links.

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain is a Nandi tale from Kenya (East Africa) that tells the story of a man who shot down the rain with a bow and arrow. I love the rhyme, rhythm and repetition of this story and it was extra special to us as everywhere we looked we saw images that seemed straight out of the book.

Cows at the end of a drought - Mud Hut Mama

“These are the cows, all hungry and dry, Who mooed for the rain to fall from the sky;”

Rain Cloud - Mud Hut Mama

“This is the cloud, all heavy with rain, That shadowed the ground on Kapiti Plain.”


We watched the “Wet All Over” episode of The Magic School Bus and did a couple of fun water cycle experiments. The first was the correlating scholastic experiment to see water evaporate and condense. We put a few drops of water in a bottle cap within a sealed ziplock bag and left it in the sun. It was really cool for the girls to see the water condensation on the bag, and no water left in the caps a while later. We will try it again soon with dirty water to see if we can observe how the dirt gets left in the cap while the water condensation is clean and clear.
Water Cycle Experiment - Mud Hut Mama

We also did this cloud in a jar experiment from Teach Preschool. The girls loved dropping colored water onto a shaving cream cloud and watching how the colors moved through the cloud and then “rained” into the water.

Cloud Experiment - Mud Hut Mama

Language Arts:

On a day when it really looked like it was finally about to rain, I made the girls a tiny bow with arrows out of a craft stick, dental floss and q-tips. I found the directions for this bow (that really shoots) at The Brooding Hen. If you try to make this you need good quality craft sticks. My first attempt broke the stick but the second attempt worked (I soaked the stick to make it a bit more pliable) however our version didn’t turn out nearly as lovely as the one at The Brooding Hen. The girls really loved playing with it, but it was a bit small and frustrating for their little hands. It is something we will try again when they are a bit older. I think something like this from Fresh Mommy Blog might have been more appropriate for a prop to act out the story.

Bow & Arrow Craft - Mud Hut Mama

Above Kooks is playing Ki-pat shooting down the rain and below she is tending the cattle while standing on one leg “like the big stork bird.” Boo is a cow mooing “for the rain to fall from the sky.” And as luck would have it, we judged it right and it worked! The girls did shoot down the rain and end the drought. All day we watched the sky hoping that our efforts would be rewarded and the drops started just as we sat down to dinner – it was very cool but the girls took it in stride as they never once doubted that it would not work.

 Kapiti Plain - Mud Hut Mama

Arts and Crafts:

We quickly abandoned dinner to to set out the paper we had covered in powder paint to try our hand at rain painting. It looked like we were going to have a massive storm but we didn’t get more than a sprinkling so we had to wait another few days to really see the rain paint.

Rain Painting with Powder Paint - Mud Hut Mama

But it was worth the wait. We only used powder paint but Housing A Forest shares “five fun ways to paint in the rain.

Rain Painting - Mud Hut Mama

YouTube Songs of the Week:

We loved this “Is it Rain?” song with motions by Sockhead Smith and also enjoyed these versions of “Rain, Rain Go Away” and “Singing In The Rain.”

Other Ideas:

Scholastic has a set of lesson plans to go with Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain and TES Connect has a lovely set of story sequencing cards to go with the book. You have to join the site before you can download the cards, but it is free to join.

Leanna from All Done Monkey recently shared a great kids’ science experiment to learn about interconnected waterways and water pollution in the last Conservation Corner post that could also be tied into learning about the water cycle.

This year we are devoting more time to planned activities than last year. We have a routine that we go through each morning before reading our book of the week and we are doing math and music sessions that are not related to our book a week activities – I hope to write more about them soon. Boo and I are also getting more serious about working on reading.

Are you familiar with this book? How have your children learned about the water cycle?

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10 Responses to “Water Cycle Experiments & Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain”

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  1. Shannon says:

    When I taught 2nd grade, years before I ever had an inkling I would someday live in Africa, I read and did a play of Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plains with my class. Great book!

  2. Tracy K says:

    Zoey is sitting in my lap as I am reading this and she wants so badly to play with your girls!! Very curious about them 🙂

    I explained a little about Africa and why you are there and how it is different from Connecticut. It is a rainy day here so we are going to use your link to do some painting. I’ll take pics. Also we do have the book you read so we can read that. Thanks for the inspiration , as always you are doing a wonderful job with your girls 🙂

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you so much Tracy – wouldn’t it be nice to get our girls together one day! Have a great time with your rain painting!!

  3. Heather says:

    Love the way you work with a theme. And rain painting. What a cool idea. Love your experiments too.

  4. I love Rain Painting!!! Wish I had utilized that activity during our rainy season. 🙁 Pinning it to keep it in mind for next year!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you for pinning Kristen – I think rain painting will be so much fun at your new home!

  5. I think I need to look for a copy of this book. Love all the activities you came up with!!!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you MaryAnne – I think your kids would love this book – it’s one of our favorites.