How to Make a Rain Gauge from a Recycled 2-Liter Bottle

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Help your kids learn about the weather and the importance of rain by making a simple rain gauge from a recycled 2-liter bottle. The completed gauge will help kids keep an accurate measurement of rainfall in your area and will help them have fun with science as well.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Sand or small pebbles
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Masking tape or packing tape
  • Rinse out the 2-liter bottle well. Remove the label. Cut the top off the bottle just below the shoulder where the sides become straight. Make a straight and even cut because you will use the top as a funnel for the rain gauge.

  • Take the large bottom portion and fill with sand or small pebbles for weight. Fill it to a point where it fills the molded shape that gives the bottle strength. You want a level base just above that mark. Fill the sand or pebbles with water to the saturation point. The water level should be slightly above the sand.

  • Mark the water line with a heavy straight line with a permanent black marker. Measure from the line and mark off the bottle in ¼- , ½- and 1-inch marks. Mark at least 5 or 6 inches up at least -- even more if your area has potential for that much rain in a night.

  • Invert the top into the base to make a funnel for the water and to minimize evaporation. Tape around the top with masking tape or packing tape to avoid leaving a sharp edge. Make sure the water level is exactly at your start line. Leave the homemade rain gauge out in an open area where nothing will block falling rain.

  • Check the gauge after a certain time period or after a storm. After you measure, write down the results to keep track and empty the water back down to the base line and set it out again. If there is a long dry spell, make sure the water level stays up to the base line before any expected storm.

  • Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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