Water Cycle Game

Ever wonder where the water you're drinking came from? Where those water molecules last were? With the roll of the dice, you can simulate the journey water molecules may take as they travel within the water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle.

Diagram showing the water cycle.

Download the Water Cycle Game

The following three files are used to play the Water Cycle Game:

Water Cycle Game - Instructions [PDF, 90.4 KB]

Water Cycle Game - Game cubes [Zip, 2.8 MB]

Water Cycle Game - Station labels [Zip, 2.8 MB]

What Is the Water Cycle Game?

Water is constantly in motion. Sometimes it moves quickly, like in a fast-flowing river, but sometimes it moves quite slowly, as in underground aquifers. Appreciating the complexity of how water moves around, on a watershed scale, helps us understand how either dissolved contaminants, or those attached to particles, are transported throughout a watershed.

By role-playing as a molecule of water in this game, you can gain a better understanding for the true complexity of the movement of water. Here are the basic elements of the game:

  • Stations are set-up for each of nine different compartments of the water cycle.
  • On each turn, a roll of the dice at each station tells you where to move next.
  • Colored trackers record each person's unique journey through the water cycle to compare to others' journeys later on.
  • You will identify the states of water and when water changes states as it moves through its cycle.
  • You will also learn where pollutants can enter the water cycle, be transported around, or be left behind.

More information about the Water (Hydrologic) Cycle

Explore the Water Cycle: Learn more through these interactive illustrations provided by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

U.S. Geological Survey: The Water Cycle: A complete and well-illustrated overview of the water cycle. There is an interactive water-cycle diagram for kids, too, available in multiple languages. Water cycle information is provided for beginner, intermediate, and advanced learners.

U.S. Geological Survey: Water Education Posters: Posters on various water-related topics are available in color or black and white. The back sides of the color poster JPEG files contain educational activities: one version for children in grades 3-5 and the other with activities for children in grades 6-8. The black-and-white posters are intended for coloring by children in grades K-5.

NOAA National Weather Service: The Hydrologic Cycle: An overview of the basic hydrologic (or water) cycle. This module is a component of JetStream, the National Weather Service Online School for Weather.

NOAA Ocean Explorer: The Water Cycle (interactive version; html version): This is a Multimedia Discovery Mission Demo, one of a series of 14 interactive multimedia presentations and learning activities that address a variety of ocean-related topics.

NOAA Northwest River Forecast Center: Hydrologic Cycle: This is an education module about the movement of water on the earth. The module includes a discussion of water movement in the U.S., and also provides specific information about water movement in the state of Oregon.

More Games at NOAA

Games: Planet Arcade: This arcade is a portal to games and interactive activities focused on ocean and air themes. It highlights the science and the activities of NOAA and other agencies and organizations promoting environmental stewardship.

Go back to the main Education page to explore other ways to learn about the ocean and the impacts of oil pollution.