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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Water Bureau

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Rainy Day DIY Water Projects for Kids

Wondering what to do with your tots during the rainy days to come? Portland Water Bureau has ideas for you! Here are three easy water-themed projects you can do with items from your home and our own supply of Bull Run water straight from the tap!

Sponge Boats from


  • Thick kitchen sponges
  • Craft popsicle sticks
  • Duct tape or gaffer tape in one or two colors
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors

How To

  • Cut the top two corners off your sponges to they resemble a house shape. A large, sharp pair of scissors works best for this. Then, using your craft knife cut a slit slightly wider than your popsicle stick in the middle for the mast.
  • Overlap two pieces of duct tape for the sail. To make them proportional, try to make the sail about as wide as the sponge. You can let the sail be longer than necessary as it will be cut down later.
  • Now is a great time to let kids decorate the sails. Duct tape can be cut into smaller strips to make patterns, or let kids draw with permanent marker.
  • Once the sails have been decorated, cut the messy ends off.
  • Cut a small slit with your craft knife and slide it onto the popsicle stick mast. Remember to give it a slight bend so it can catch the wind. To keep it in place, use a thin piece of tape cut in half lengthwise and wind it around the top and bottom of the mast.
  • Float your boats!

 Water Cycle Bag from


  • Permanent markers
  • Plastic baggy
  • Small plastic or paper cup
  • ¼ cup water
  • Food coloring (blue)
  • Optional: construction paper for cutting out clouds or other elements for decorating

How To

  • Mark your baggy with the water cycle. The water and cup will sit in the bottom corner, so write “Bull Run Watershed” there. Water accumulates in the Bull Run Watershed, which is the source of our water distribution system! Then, going clockwise around the bag with arrows in between write “evaporation,” “condensation,” and “precipitation.”
  • Put 1 or 2 drops of food coloring into your water and stir, then pour into the cup.
  • Mark where the water level falls on the cup.
  • Place the cup of Bull Run water from your tap in the “Bull Run Watershed” corner.
  • Seal the bag, making sure to leave some air.
  • Carefully tape the baggy to a sunny window so the cup does not spill and watch the water cycle take place throughout the day! Rain accumulates in the watershed, which flows down to Portland using the power of gravity. During its trip, some of the water evaporates before it reaches our taps. Evaporated water condenses into clouds which then rain and start the cycle all over again.

Cloud in a Jar from


  • Glass jar with a lid
  • Hot water (preferably boiling)
  • Hair spray
  • Ice cubes

How To

  • Turn the lid of the jar upside down and fill it with ice cubes. Set aside for later.
  • Start by boiling Bull Run water from your tap, then pouring it into your jar. About 1/3 cup should be enough.
  • Quickly spray the hair spray into the jar. This will give the water something to condense to.

Place the lid with the ice cubes on top of the jar and watch as your cloud forms! Take a look outside—do our Portland clouds look like your jar cloud?


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