Jerry Can Teaches Us How Soil Holds on to Water

Jerry Can has a number of fun activities he wants to share with children around the country to help them learn about the importance of water. Follow the below instructions to learn how soil holds onto water (and why that can be a problem), and check out the Presbyterian Giving Catalog’s Jerry Can Curriculum for additional lessons and activities!

Gather the following items:

  • Disposable aluminum pan or clay saucer
  • Watering can
  • Foam cups or plastic pots
    • 1 with a plug of grass or small plant
    • 1 with bare soil
    • 1 with soil mounded to resemble a slope or hillside

What to do:

  1. Place the three pots in the aluminum pan or clay saucer to hold the water.
  2. Water each pot and observe what happens.
  3. Ask the children to describe what happened when each of the three pots was watered. They should describe something like the following: the water goes right through the bare soil; the pot with the slope drains quickly and actually moves the dirt; the pot with the grass or plant drains, but much more slowly.
  4. Now ask: What do you think this tells us about how soil holds water? What makes soil able to hold more water? Talk about how the grass allows the water to drain more slowly, allowing the plant to absorb the water. On bare soil, there is nothing to hold the water, and sloping ground makes the situation worse.


Don’t forget to take a picture of your scientists-in-training and share on social media! Tag @GivingCatalog and use #pgcJerryCan, and we’ll send you #makingadifference t-shirts!

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