Make your own rain gauge


plastic bottle with pebbles and water Mulsanne via Compfight cc

You'll need

2-litre plastic cooldrink bottle

small stones


masking tape


pen or dark pencil

Here’s how

1 Cut away the top third of the 2-litre plastic bottle.

2 Pack a few stones at the bottom of the bottle (so the wind can’t blow it over).

3 Pour water in until just above the stone level.

4 Draw a scale in centimetres on a piece of masking tape with the help of the ruler and paste it on the side of the bottle so you can start counting just above the current water line.

illustration of homemade rain gauge

Place the rain gauge in an open area outside. There should be nothing above the little rain gauge – no trees, wires or gutters because they could stop water from flowing into the rain gauge or cause too much water to run into it.

You and the child should read the rain gauge at the same time everyday and note where the water mark is. Throw out the rain water and refill with water to the point where the scale begins.

You could compare the amount of rain water with the duration of the shower. Was it a short and intense rain shower or a long and light one? Older kids can keep a rain record for the entire rainy season and draw a graph.

Source: YOU Play Summer 2012/13

Illustration: Anton Vermeulen

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