This post is part of our @PhillyH2O at Home series: fun at-home science and learning activities from our Fairmount Water Works educators and other partners to help your family stay engaged with water issues.

Thirsty?

Since many people are likely to be at home more than usual this summer, it’s a great time to take advantage of the healthy, safe tap water flowing right from your faucet. It’s the most affordable way to stay hydrated, and Philly’s tap exceeds state and federal quality standards. 

And if you are a skeptic when it comes to local tap, we just released our Water Quality Report. Check it out to see a year’s work of testing data showing our water is safe and clean.

Knowing we have top-quality tap, you can have some fun with the water by infusing it with flavor!

Tantalize your Taste Buds!

These activities explore different ways you and your children can infuse flavor to water without added sweeteners like sugar. Choose something healthy that you haven’t tried before, and experiment with how time and the amount of ingredients changes flavors.

Materials:

  • Cold water from your tap
  • Glass jars, pitchers, or large drinking glasses
  • A knife and cutting board (and adult supervision!)
  • Different healthy ingredients to add to your tap water, such as:
    • Fruit or vegetables, like apples, oranges, lime, lemon, strawberries, carrots, cucumbers, melons
    • Tea bags or tea leaves
    • Spices and herbs such as mint leaves, thyme leaves, fresh ginger chunks or hibiscus leaves
  • For some activities:
    • A pot or microwave-safe bowl or measuring cup to heat water in
    • A cheese grater, shredder, food processor, or some extra time and patience
Some of the recommended materials listed above, gathered on a kitchen counter. In the back we see a glass bottle and jar with lids, various packs of tea bags, and a bottle of lemon juice. In the front there are a couple jars of spices and a cuttingboard holding an orange, and apple, and a partially sliced lime.

Directions:

Activity 1: Fresh & Fruity

  1. Thinly slice apples, limes, cucumbers, strawberries, or whatever fruit you have at home.
  2. Put sliced fruit in a jar - about 1/3 full.
  3. Fill the jar the rest of the way with cold tap water.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  5. Drink and enjoy!
Experiment:
  • Try leaving the infused water in the refrigerator longer - a few hours, or even overnight! How does that affect the flavor? Which do you like best?
  • Try different concentrations of flavoring by using more fruit slices in a jar, or only a few. Which concentration do you prefer?

Activity 2: Carrot On

  1. Shred carrots with a grater, pulse in a food processor, or chop them into very thin strips.
  2. Add shredded carrots to a jar, and fill the rest of the way with cold tap water.
  3. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
  4. Strain out the carrots, or just drink and enjoy!
Experiment:
  • Try different concentrations of flavor by using more or less carrots, or leaving the infusion in the refrigerator longer, like you did in Activity 1. What concentration of flavor do you like best?
  • Why do you think we shredded the carrots, instead of just slicing them like we did in Activity 1? Try it and see what happens if you want!

Activity 3: Spice It Up

  1. Boil 2 cups of water. Start with cold water from the tap, and heat it on the stove or in the microwave until it starts bubbling.
  2. Add a handful of mint leaves or a couple small chunks of fresh ginger (about 1 tablespoon).
  3. Let the mixture steep (sit and infuse) for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain or scoop out the mint/ginger and pour into a mug to drink hot, or a jar to go in the refrigerator.
  5. Try drinking it hot, like tea, or refrigerate for 1 hour.
Experiment:
  • See how much (or little) mint you can use to flavor the water - mint is a flavor that can be diluted a lot and you still taste it.
  • What other spices might work? How about thyme, basil, hibiscus flowers, or cinnamon sticks.

Keep the Flavor Flowing

  • Consider combining some of the flavorings. Try strawberries with thyme or ginger with carrots or apple!
  • Try using tea bags or tea leaves, either following Activity 3 or adding them to a jar of cold water and leaving it in the refrigerator overnight - on their own or with other flavoring!
  • Frozen fruit works too! If you want a cold fruity drink now, try using frozen berries or grapes instead of ice cubes - there won’t be as much flavor as when you give it time to infuse, but it’s a little more fun than plain tap water.

More:

Check out the Fairmount Water Works Tip Top Taste Test activity!