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Explore and Play: Sponges

What can a sponge do?  


  • water table(s), large tubs, or plastic wading pool, if outside (limit the number of children at a water table or tub to four or five, or use multiple water tables and/or tubs) 
  • dry sponges (if possible, one per child, or have a pair of children share)
  • chart labeled “Our Ideas About Water”

Key Science Concepts

  • Some surfaces absorb water; some don’t.
  • Objects behave differently in water. Some float; some don’t.


Tell children they will experiment with water and sponges.

  1. At the water table or tub(s), pass out a sponge to each child (or pair of children). Ask:
    • What are some of the things your family uses sponges for at home?  
    • What does the sponge feel like when it’s dry? What do you think it will feel like when you put it in the water? Let’s try it!
  1. Then let children experiment. Ask:,   
    • What happened to the sponge when you put it in water?
    • What are some of the different things you can do with a sponge when it’s wet?
  1. Introduce the words soak and absorb. Have children demonstrate how a sponge absorbs or soaks up water.

Record any new ideas they have on the “Our Ideas About Water” chart.