Rain can be pretty amazing, but after it stops, where does all the water go? You know it washes into storm drains or soaks through the soil to accumulate in underground aquifers. As a grownup, you understand that water resources are limited and dependent on seasonal rainfall. One way to bring that lesson home to your kids is with a rain barrel. A couple of generations ago, rain barrels were on every farm and in many residential neighborhoods across America. Families harvested rainwater for practical use the way they harvested potatoes or apples.
Installing a rain barrel under one of the downspouts from your roof will teach your kids firsthand that the notion of an endless supply of water is really an illusion. An empty rain barrel will be a stark reminder to your kids that nature can be capricious. Streams dry up, droughts happen, and the seasonal cycles which produce adequate rainfall are fragile. Actually, a rain barrel in your garden can be a learning tool as well as a pretty nifty way to harvest some extra water for landscape maintenance.