Make Your Own Rain Gauge

Grades 1-3

Gardens and lawns get a lot of the water they need from rain. But how much rain falls with each rainstorm? And is it enough to keep plants and grass from getting thirsty, especially in the summertime? One way to find out is to use a rain gauge to measure rainfall. Ready to make your own?

What You Need:

  • Empty, clear soda bottle
  • Scissors Ruler
  • Sharpie
  • Other markers for decorating the bottle

What to Do:

1. Carefully cut off the top of the bottle right where the label is.

2. Turn the top piece upside down and nestle it into the bottom piece to create a funnel for the rain

3. Using your ruler, mark the inches on the outside of the bottle, starting at the bottom.

4. Decorate the bottle any way you want—as long as you can still see through it, of course

5. Place it in the garden or a corner of the yard. Wedge it between two rocks or dig it into the ground to keep it standing straight. Don’t put it under a tree!

Over the next few weeks, check your rain gauge every day and record the measurement on a piece of graph paper. Be sure to empty it out after you check it! As you make more measurements, you may start to see a pattern. Also, be sure to check your lawn and garden when rainfall is scarce, as they may need some help from the hose or sprinklers. Grass and plants need around an inch of water a week—more when it’s really hot outside. For more fun water- and rain-related activities and ideas, download Rain, Rain, Don’t Go Away! Measuring Rain in the Garden.