Flipped Water Glass Experiment from Outdoor Science Lab for Kids

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Outdoor Science Lab for Kids | AprilNoelle.com

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! https://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

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