Make a water tower!

Winter Water Tower

How a water tower works…

You can (almost) always count on having water from your faucets even when the power goes out.

The water in a community is  typically pumped using electricity into a water tower where it sits ready to be used.  A typical tower can hold abut a days worth of water.  The water in the tower relies on gravity to provide us with water pressure.

Even though pipes enter your home from below the water can travel to your upstairs bathroom as long as it is lower than the water level in the water tower (see diagram below).  Such a perfect and reliable system!

How a water tower works (from Wikipedia)

Build a mini water tower!

We drive by this huge powdery blue water tower on Saturdays now and we have talked about how it works but I though it would be fun to learn about it first hand!

What you need…

  • small water or juice bottle
  • large juice bottle
  • flexible tubing
  • binder clip
  • bowl

First make a hole in the cap of the small water bottle (make it smaller than the flexible tube so it won’t drip).  Next make a pin sized vent hole in the bottom of the same bottle.  Then squeeze the tube into the hole on cap.  Clamp the other end of the tube with the binder clip.  Make a hole near the bottom of the large juice bottle and feed tubing through.  Now you are ready to fill the water bottle (keep a finger over vent hole as you fill)!

Try releasing the clamp at different heights relative to the water level to see when it stops flowing.  Use the bowl to catch the water.

how to make a water tower model for kids

Water Tower Experiment

Just because water towers provide such an important and basic function doesn’t mean they have to look boring!  As a supplement to this project how about designing you own unique water tower!  What could it look like?  What could it be made out of?  How might it be supported?  Below are a few unique examples for inspiration…

Ear of corn water tower at Seneca Foods in Rochester

Water tower at Saint-Parize-le-Châtel, France

Smiley Face Water Tower (Calumet City, Illinois)

additional resources…  

This post is linked-up with Learning Laboratory! Click on this button to find lots of great learning links!

learning laboratory at mama smiles

This looks like a great book for more water related experiments!

Or how about this cool kit that allows you to build air and water powered models?!

Are you in need of a water tower for your Thomas trains?

If you are interested in the way lots of other things work, this book is a must!


I'm a practical mom inspired by nature & I enjoy sharing ideas that encourage kids' innate curiosity & creativity. Interested in subscribing? Check out the blue box at the top of my sidebar. I'm also a wannabe author/illustrator & product designer by day. Let's connect! If you purchase through my Amazon links I get a small commission at no additional cost to you (thanks for supporting Doodles and Jots)! And remember to always credit your source here & elsewhere on the internet.


  1. That was impressive, Ann! I love the graphic diagram you did, I’ll be sure to show it to my kids. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t totally clear on how they work until I saw the drawing.

    They are incredible structures, giant sculptures even. Really cool post!

    • Thanks Tiffanie! The experiment is fun – my kids played with it for a long time and soaked through a towel I had under it.

      I got the diagram from Wikipedia. The picture was linked but just added written credit too. I really like the diagram too – its a very clear one.

  2. Cool! We always talk about water towers when we see them, too. I’ll show my daughter this and actually the craft looks like it might not be too hard for even my pea brain.

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