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How we use and save water

About this lesson

In this hands-on lesson children will share how they use water daily and learn simple ways to save this precious resource.

Year level: EC

Theme: Water conservation

Learning objectives

Students can:
  • gain an awareness of the many ways we use water every day
  • gain an awareness of how water can be wasted
  • gain an awareness of what can be done to save water.

Curriculum links

Early Years Learning Framework

  • Outcome 2: Children are connected with and contribute to their world. Children become socially responsible and show respect for the environment.
  • Outcome 4: Children are confident and involved learners. Children develop a range of skills processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating.
  • Outcome 5: Children are effective communicators.

Things you will need

Activity 1 – How we use water

  • Magazine or hand-drawn pictures that show ways water is used, for example: washing hands, brushing teeth, drinking, swimming, showering, washing clothes or watering the garden.
  • Where water is wasted at home activity sheet 

Activity 2 – How to save water

  • Bucket
  • Marker pen
  • ‘Water Watchers’ name badge (blanks cut out from paper or card)
  • 2 safety pins
  • Crayons

Lesson description

Activity 1 – How we use water


  • Ask children to share all the ways they use water in one day. Have them think about what they do when they first get up through to when they go to bed. Then have them think about how their family uses water. Put pictures up on the board to represent this.
  • Taking turns have students mime various water-using actions while the rest of the class guesses what is being mimed.
  • Talk about how water is wasted during the day (e.g. leaving the tap running when brushing your teeth, not turning off the tap, having a really long shower, watering the garden for a very long time, washing the car on the drive).


  • Children colour in the activity sheet.

Reflect & summarise

  • Have children discuss how to save water in the home.
  • Have children take home their activity sheets and talk to their families at home about how water can be saved.

Activity 2 – How to save water


  • Explain to the children that everyday water is wasted when taps are not turned off properly, when taps are leaking, or the wrong button is used on dual-flush toilets.
  • Take the children around the centre checking for leaks and turning off taps.
  • Discuss why some taps leak even if they are turned off properly.
  • Place a bucket under a slowly dripping tap and explain you will come back to look at it later. Ask children how much water they think will be there when you get back.  Mark the children’s guesses on the bucket with a marker pen.
  • Visit the toilets and explain to the children about the dual-flush toilet and when they use a half flush or a full flush.


  • Explain that each day 2 children will be the ‘Water Watchers’.  Their job is to spot leaks, turn off taps and look out for and advise you of any water being wasted.
  • Children create their own colourful, water inspired ‘Water Watcher’ badge with their name on it.

Reflect & summarise

  • Revisit the leaking tap and have the children look at how much water has been caught by the bucket.  Explain that this water would have been wasted and how important it is to turn off taps and report leaks.  How close to their guesses were they?
  • Pour the water onto the vegetable garden or garden beds.

Extension activities

Find more early childhood resources.

Teacher background information

Conserving water

Water is the planet’s most precious resource and without it no plant or animal can survive. In Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, it is especially important we conserve water. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water (97% is held in oceans) and only 1% of this fresh water is available for human needs. We need this 1% for our survival, for our health and to grow our food. By reducing our water use we can ensure the sustainability of water supply for the future.

We can save water by:

  • turning off taps (a running tap uses about 8–9 litres of water per minute)
  • checking for leaking taps
  • taking shorter showers or only half filling the bath
  • making sure washing machines and dishwashers are fully loaded before we use them
  • buying water efficient appliances such as toilets, showers and washing machines.

Checking for leaks

Regularly checking taps, pipes and fittings could save water and money. Look out for:

  • leaks in the kitchen, toilets and where sinks are situated
  • leaking toilet cisterns and connections to water using appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers
  • outdoor garden taps/hoses and reticulation (including sprinklers)
  • damp patches on walls, damp and unstable brick paving or concrete and garden areas that may be moist and greener than expected.

Dual-flush toilets

In 1980, Australian inventor Bruce Thompson developed a cistern with two buttons and flush volumes (11 litres and 5.5 litres). The smaller flush is designed for liquid waste and the larger is designed for solid waste. Redesigns have progressively reduced the amount of water used. A WELS 3 star rated dual flush toilet now uses 6 litres and 3 litres. Further innovation has brought that down to just 4.5 litres and 3 litres achieving a WELS rating of 4 and 5 stars.

Encouraging children to save water

Children can be an enormous resource for ideas on using less water in their daily activities. An added benefit is that children can apply the same water saving principles in their homes.

It is important though to encourage children to regularly drink enough water.

Did you know?

Turning the tap off while you brush your teeth can save around 35 litres of water every day.

Key vocabulary

  • Dual-flush toilet: A toilet with half and full flush options
  • Leak: The unwanted discharge of a fluid from a container
  • Save: To avoid unnecessary waste or expense
  • Tap: A device for controlling the flow of liquid
  • Waste: To use, consume or spend thoughtlessly or carelessly