Have you ever wondered how some birds and animals can sit in the rain or go swimming without getting wet? Lucky creatures! How is this possible?  Use two soft toys that you don’t mind getting wet or spraying with waterproof spray.

You will need:

  • two soft toys
  • waterproof spray
  • pipette or teaspoon
  • cup of water

Method:

  • Spray one toy with waterproof spray following the instructions on the can. Allow to dry.
  • Use a pipette or teaspoon to drip water onto the unsprayed toy.
  • Use a pipette or teaspoon to drip water onto the sprayed toy.

Results:

What do you notice? How does the water behave differently on the two toys?  

The Science Bit:

This experiment is easy to do at home to see how creatures have waterproof coats and feathers which protect them in their habitats. The water on the unsprayed toy will sink in, but the water on the waterproof toy will bead and run off. Birds have a special gland that gives them oil, and they use their beaks to rub this all over their feathers to make them waterproof. You may have seen ducks or swans do this. Water mammals such as otters, seals and polar bears have oils in their fur to keep it waterproof. This also traps a layer of air next to their skin to keep them warm.

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