Volume Experiments With Water

Here is a hands-on STEM exercise for kids.

It is fun for the kids and very easy to set up.

Use everyday items around the house to illustrate science ideas and theories.

Explore volume, shape and size

The size of a three-dimensional space is called volume.

One simple way to find out which container has a bigger volume is by measuring the amount of water it holds.

volume exploration science experiment

Volume Exploration And The Scientific Method

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

In this measurement and math activity, compare the volume, shapes and sizes of different containers. It is a fun way to practice fine motor skills, too!


  • various containers of different shapes and sizes
  • a pitcher of water
  • food coloring (optional)


  • measuring cup
  • adult supervision


3 containers with different sizes and shapes, one of them contains blue water.

There are two ways to compare volume of different containers.

Before starting, guess which container is the largest and which the smallest. What are your reasons?

one container with blue water, another container is empty

Direct comparison

  1. Pick a container that seems to hold the largest volume.
  2. Fill this container with water up to the rim.
  3. Add food coloring (optional).
  4. Carefully transfer the water from this container to a smaller container.
  5. Observe if there's water remaining after fully filling the second container, or if there is not enough water to fill it up.
  6. The container that holds more water has a larger volume.

Measurement comparison

  1. Fill each container completely with water.
  2. Transfer the water to the measure cup and take the measurement.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 with each container and record each measurement.

Did you guess correctly the relative sizes?

Shape comparison

In addition to comparing volume, you can also compare the shapes.

Now that you know which container is the biggest and the smallest, explore the relationship between volume and shapes.

  1. Measure 1 cup of water using the measuring cup.
  2. Pour this into a container.
  3. Repeat steps 1-2 with each container and put them side-by-side for comparison.

Did you try this project?

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The scientific method

This activity introduces the idea of science exploration to kids. Science is not just about knowing information. It is a way of trying to make sense of the world.

Scientists observe, ask questions, hypothesize, design experiments, collect data and use it to try to understand the world around us. Children can learn all of these in experiments such as this volume comparison.

Using the various comparison methods, kids learn to explore and observe in different ways. They will learn that it is possible to arrive at the same conclusion using different methods. A problem can often be solved or investigated from multiple angles. To systematically explore, investigate, observe and understand is the scientific method.

A child is pouring blue water from one container to another. Volume exploration: Teach kids to think like a scientist in this volume exploration experiment

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