Flipped Water Glass Experiment from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids

Weekends can be tons of fun, but on some weekends, where the primary goal is to clean up after the recent hurricane, ideas and energy can fall flat pretty quickly.

When I received Outdoor Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke, I was excited and hesitant. See, I have spent tons of time checking books like this out of the library, only to find out that I need to buy a bunch of things from the store to get them to work properly.

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids is nothing like that.

Many of these experiments can be done with a simple search around the home. Even when you do have to go to the store, you will likely use it all, no random items sitting around the house after you’re done.


I also had the opportunity to speak with the author, Liz Heinecke (this is not verbatim, just giving you the highlights):

Flipped Water Glass | Outdoor Science Lab for Kids | AprilNoelle.comWhy did you write Outside Science Lab for Kids?

My background is in art and science. I actually have a masters’ degree in bacteriology. I worked in a research lab for 10 years. When I had kids, I stayed home with them, started doing science with them. That naturally progressed to me starting a blog (kitchenpantryscientist.com) where I would post the activities that we were doing together, which was really fun. Eventually, I started demonstrating science on our Twin Cities TV station, especially right around Halloween when everyone wants to do science at home. A publisher approached me to write my first book, Kitchen Science Lab for Kids, then I followed that up with Outdoor Science Lab for Kids, which came out this summer.

I tried to give parents simple explanations that parents can understand and pass along to their kids.

How old were your children when you started? 

When I started doing this, they were 2, 5 and 7. Now they’re 10, 14 and 16. I’ve really been doing this since my youngest was born. But I think my website is six years old. I would say your child should be about three to be fully engaged.

Because I had children that were spread out over a number of years, I tried to make projects that were safe enough for my youngest and my older children would be doing it at a more advanced level while my youngest was playing around with the ingredients or play around with the finished product.

So if we were doing an experiment like Cornstarch Goo, my older children would stir it, because it’s pretty hard to stir. My youngest would just play with the goo.

Also, my older children would write in science notebooks (which I mentioned in the book). The older ones could actually write down the words if we were learning about surface tension, draw pictures and write the date.  My younger one just scribbled.


More Interview to Come…

I will be adding to this over at LosetheCape.com and UrbanMommies.com. I will highlight the articles as they become available.

Let’s the get the experiment started!


Lab 27: Flipped Water Glass


  • Glass with a mouth small enough to cover with a playing card
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Water

Safety Tips & Hints

  • The cards may be damaged by water.
  • Small children may need assistance with this experiment.


Step 1: Add some water to your glass. Make sure the glass is only partially full so that there is some air on the top.

Step 2: Cover the mouth of the glass completely with a playing card. Don’t leave any gaps and keep the card flat.

Step 3: Put one hand flat over the card, being careful not to bend the card, and quickly invert the glass. It might be easier to use your fingers instead of your palm.

Step 4: In no water is leaking out, remove your hand from the card. The card should remain on the mouth of the glass, holding the water in.

Step 5: If you have a leak, try again! You may need a new card.

Creative Enrichment

  1. Add more water to the glass. How much water can you add?
  2. Put dish soap around the edge of the glass. Do you get the same results?
  3. Make pin holes in the card and repeat the experiment. Does the water leak through the holes? Why or why not?

The Science Behind the Fun

We live at the bottom of an ocean of air molecules. Although we don’t notice it, these molecules push on our bodies and everything around us with a powerful force called atmospheric pressure. This pressure pushes on us from all directions.

When you flip the covered water glass over, water molecules in the glass are pulled down by gravity. However, the force of the water pushing down is lower than the force of atmospheric pressure pushing up on the car, so the water stays in the glass.

Surface tension is at work as well, since water molecules like to stick together, forming an elastic-like skin at their surface. Some water molecules even stick to the card due to another force called adhesion, which helps hold the card on the glass.

If your friends ask, just tell them that atmospheric pressure provides enough push to keep the card on the glass and that surface tension and adhesion help stop leaks.


Buy now:
From Outdoor Science Lab for Kids by Liz Lee Heinecke
© 2016 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.
Text © 2016 Liz Lee Heinecke
Photography © 2016 Quarto Publishing Group USA Inc.

Get Liz’s other book too!

I’m part of blog tour, so check out some of the other wonderful sites on this tour to see more great experiments

10/17/16  ME! http://www.aprilnoelle.com
10/18/16  Happy Healthy Hip Parenting http://www.happyhealthyhip.com/blog/
10/19/16  Mom of 2 Dancershttp://www.scrappyd.blogspot.com
10/20/16  Just Joannahttp://justjoanna.com
10/21/16  Familylicioushttp://familylicious.com
10/22/16  Say it, “Rah-shay”http://sayitrahshay.com
10/23/16  Honey Badger Momhttp://honeybadgermom.com
10/24/16  The Life of a Home Momhttp://homemom3.com
10/25/16  Mom, Are We There Yet?http://momarewethereyet.net
10/26/16  Bless Their Hearts Momhttp://blesstheirheartsmom.blogspot.com
10/27/16  Central Minnesota Momhttp://centralmnmom.com
10/28/16  Cassandra M’s Placewww.cassandramsplace.com
10/29/16  My Silly Little Ganghttp://mysillylittlegang.com
10/30/16  Houseful of Nicholeshttp://housefulofnicholes.com
10/31/16  Cook with 5 kidswww.cookwith5kids.com

38 comments on “Flipped Water Glass Experiment from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids”

  1. Amber Myers says:

    This is so cool! My kids would love to do these.

  2. So nice! My son would love it, he is crazy about science.

  3. tara pittman says:

    I love how you combined science with magic.My boys love magic so we need to try this.

  4. victoria says:

    Wow your son looks cute I love this Science + magic experiment. I would tell this to my son

  5. Ana says:

    It is wonderful that your passion for teaching and science translates in these activities. How fun.

  6. Oh my gosh, my grand son will love this. He is so into science projects of every kind. We all buy him science kits but he loves to create his own too.

  7. Such a cool experiment! I have always loved science since I was younger and my favorite things was trying out cool experiments like this! And what’s better than science with some magic!

  8. michelle mink says:

    I love that different ages were kept in mind with this. As a younger sibling I can relate to the fact that we aren’t always ready for what our older siblings are.

  9. Laura says:

    I’ve done similar things with the kids at school. It is a fun and hands on activity.

  10. Amy Jones says:

    This looks like such a fun idea! I bet my nephew would love it

  11. Jojo Vito says:

    Really fun. Kids will surely love it and they will learn a lot because its cool.

  12. Teresa Kunberger says:

    Looks like a cool lab! My kids love being outside!

  13. Christine Tatum says:

    My nephew is completely into science right now. He would love these books. Christmas shopping has begun. 😊

  14. This looks like so much fun. I’m sure my kiddos will love it. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Amber Myers says:

    Fun! I must try this with my kids!

  16. Great way to get the kids interested in science. I can’t remember the name of the book we had when my boys were little but the idea was the same. A side benefit to early experiments was that my boys always got As in science throughout school.

  17. Elizabeth O. says:

    Experiments are awesome because they are fun and the kids learn a lot from them! I’ve done this experiment with my twins too and they were quite amazed at the results. They were fascinated after I explained how the whole thing works!

  18. Liz Mays says:

    This would be amazing! I have always wanted to learn that trick. I’m thinking there are countless adventures to be had in those pages.

  19. OurFamilyWorld says:

    Such an amazing experiment. Your son was doing great

  20. Ashlea says:

    This looks like something I would do with my son when he is older. Thank you for sharing.

  21. Madelain says:

    This is so fun! Thanks for sharing the science details. Your son did a great job in the video!

  22. haleybop says:

    ermagerd this is so cool. this would be a great gift for my brother!

  23. Echo says:

    I love this so much! Learning at home can be such a great advantage.

  24. I highly encourage parents to do experiments with their kids, the earlier the better! It’s a great way to help them develop an interest for science. Awesome idea for an experiment!

  25. Annie says:

    This is such a fun thing to do, it’s amazing how surprised people get, so it’s also useful as a “magic trick” XD

  26. I love doing science experiments with my kids. This sounds like a great book, and I love reading about the author’s background.

  27. Leigh Anne Borders says:

    I read this in perfect time! We home-school our son and today my mission was to research some ideas for labs!

  28. Eileen Kelly says:

    my kids always loved a good science experiment..this looks like so Much fun

  29. tauyanm says:

    that is awesome! my husband and daughter would love to try this too! they are both the same who like experiments like this

  30. chei says:

    Wow this looks so awesome! My kids would love to try this! They will surely have fun!

  31. My 8 year old is Science mad he will really love this! Thanks for making me a cool mum!

  32. Traveligaya says:

    woah this is really cool!! im sure my kids will be amazed to this science tricks!

  33. karlyn cruz says:

    that;s nice haha lol,. i like it! im gonna try this at home with the kids! they will surely like it

  34. Natalie says:

    How awesome that you were approached by a publisher to write a book! What a great way for kids to learn!

  35. Azlin Bloor says:

    Fabulous show and tell! What an adorable little guy he is!

  36. Emma says:

    My kids would love this – magic and science all in one. A great way to make learning fun!

  37. Elizabeth says:

    I should impress my children with this trick! They’d LOVE it! They’re quite keen on science, which helps, lol!

  38. Wildish Jess says:

    I never intentionally did this as a kid but it use to happen all of the time! Feels like a flashback!

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