It’s Great to Hydrate!

The Earth is made up about 70% water – but did you know our bodies are also 60-70% water?

Most of us know that juice is healthier than soda, but drinking juice can also lead to health problems because it’s full of sugar! Water is the best way to keep our bodies hydrated and working properly both during exercise and during the regular school day.

In this activity, you will make different reminders to drink lots of water!

-Describe the reasons it is important our bodies get plenty of water and stay hydrated
-Propose some ways you can increase your water intake

Key Vocabulary:
 -Hydrate, cells


Sources: Harvard Health Publishing (2015)

  • Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles.
  • Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, which are made up mostly of water. When we don’t get enough water, cells can start to work less efficiently.
  • Fluids also help flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation, regulate body temperature, keep joints lubricated, prevent infections, deliver nutrients to cells, and keep organs functioning properly. Being well-hydrated also improves sleep quality, cognition, and mood.
  • We lose water through sweat and breathing hard (which is why our breath fogs up in the cold), so it’s important to replace that water especially during high activity
  • In general, healthy people should get the equivalent of eight 8oz glasses of water per day (2 liters) but the amount you need depends on factors like age, activity level, and even the weather outside! Use your thirst and pee color (see activity below) to guide your water consumption.
  • You drink your water and eat it too. Doctors recommend eating water-rich foods such as whole fruits and vegetables and broth-based soups.


  • A well balanced diet gives you the vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and water your body needs
  • Very few Americans get enough servings of fruits and vegetables. A Healthy Eating Plate suggests that we eat twice as many servings of these plant foods as servings of whole grains and healthy proteins.
  • Food labels provide important information on exactly what is inside a food. Whole plant foods don’t have labels but are naturally packaged with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, fiber and water.
    • Food labels only give information for one serving size. Not every package only has one serving size! This information tells us how many calories are in a serving of food and how many servings are in a package.
  • An easy way to balance calories in and out during the day is to get 1 hour of activity each day and to choose water or low-fat milk instead of soda, juice, or energy drinks. Other than low-fat milk, it is healthiest for us to eat rather than drink our calories.

Kid-Friendly Language:

  • All living things are made up of tiny building blocks called cells – our bodies are made out of trillions of cells!
  • You can imagine that cells are like little factories, they have lots of special tools they use to make things your body needs like energy, other cells, proteins, muscle contractions, brain signals, and more!
  • Every cell is mostly water – about 70% just like us and the earth! So when our cells don’t have enough water, you can imagine that they can start shriveling up like a raisin, and stop working properly!
  • We need to make sure to have enough every day. White low-fat milk is also a healthy option, but sugary colored liquids (like juice, soda, flavored tea, sports drinks, and strawberry or chocolate milk) have LOTS of sugar, which overloads our bodies and can harm our cells.
  • We need to drink even more water when we are exercising or if it is hot outside because when the body’s temperature increases, it uses and loses (in the form of sweat) more water.
  • If you don’t drink enough water, you might get dehydrated, which will make you feel really tired, and maybe even a little dizzy and grumpy.
  • You can tell how hydrated you are by looking at the color of your pee! If your pee is clear or lightly colored yellow, that means you’re doing a great job keeping your body’s cells hydrated!
  • If your pee is dark yellow, it means your body is working extra hard to keep water in your cells – you can help your body out by drinking some water (a few glasses over the rest of the day and not all at once) and/or eat some fresh fruits and veggies.
  • Sometimes people think water is boring because it has no taste, but think instead about how amazing water feels – refreshing and wonderful!

For more information about nutrition for parents, children and educators, please see Healthy Eating Plate. For more information about the importance of staying hydrated year round, please read this Blog Post. See more about KiPOW!, a Children’s National collaboration with DC public schools, George Washington Medical School and Howard University to promote the Healthy Schools Act here.


For the “coaster”:

  • Construction paper
  • Markers, crayons, other decorative items
  • Packing tape or contact paper

For a water bottle holder:

  • Water bottle holder (we used these)
  • Markers, crayons, stickers, other decorative items

Activity Plan

  1. Connect to prior knowledge:
    1. Ask: Have you ever seen a flower when it doesn’t have enough water? What happens to it?
      1. Sample response: it wilts/bends
    1. Explain: A flower wilts when it doesn’t get enough water (for older kids: because, just like us, it is made out of cells that need water to function properly), but if we give the flower some water, it will stand back up!
    1. Explain: Just like flowers, we need water for our bodies to do their best. The best choices throughout the day are water and white milk, since they don’t have too much sugar.
  2. To make a simple coaster:
    1. Cut out a shape out of construction paper (such as a circle or square) big enough to fit under cups/glasses. If the student has a water bottle, have them trace it!
    1. Decorate the construction paper using facts about hydration, or other designs related to water.
    1. Carefully, help the child stick clear packing tape to both sides of the paper, sandwiching it in the middle and being sure there are no spots where the paper isn’t protected.
    1. Cut around the shape leaving a 1-2cm border of tape.
    1. Drink lots of water and use the coaster to rest your cup/bottle on!
  3. To decorate the water bottle holder, use art materials to write and draw facts about hydration or water. Then, carry your water bottle wherever you go!

As with all activities, adult supervision is strongly recommended.

Follow-Up Questions

  • Why is it important to drink lots of water
  • What’s one way you can try to get more water in your body throughout the day?

Extension Activities

  • Make a Pee Stick to check how hydrated you are! Using a jumbo popsicle stick, print out this template and glue it on.  Next time you pee, check the color!

Check it Out!


Drinking Water by Helen Frost (Ages 4-8)

Text and photographs show what water does in the body and why it is essential to our health.

National Geographic Investigates: Not a Drop to Drink: Water for a Thirsty World (National Geographic Investigates Science) by Michael Burgan (Ages 10+)

Water is one of Earth’s hot environmental topics. Not a Drop to Drink conveys a clear message to young readers about this precious commodity and our urgent need to conserve it.



Plant Nanny – helps kids stay hydrated with a fun plant that needs watering (free in App store)