Taking Stock of a Toilet

I was reminded of this when reading Michael Rosens book Good Idea’s. He has a whole beautiful subchapter called The Loo. Checking out the inside of a loo was something I loved to do as small child. I did all kind of investigations that mostly involved flushing craft supplies (Sorry Mum)! The way that toilets work is FASCINATING. So every now and again, when we remember, we lift the lid a peep inside.

What you’ll need

  • A toilet
  • A sink to wash your hands in afterwards


  1. Lift the lid off the cistern and have a look inside
  2. Encourage your Small to poke around and explore what each bit does
  3. Be on hand to answer questions
  4. In my experience this can take a while so maybe bring a book to read


Analysing the inside of a cistern provided us with heaps of different learning opportunities. We made discoveries about some very practical things like how leavers work and why they are important. We explored useful maths concepts like full and empty. We learned a piles of new words too like ‘valve’ and ‘over flow pipe’.

We connected up all these ideas and saw the bigger picture of how a toilet works. It’s so much easier to learn when the information you have is in context. Having your hands actually inside a toilet is a really useful way of creating the circumstances needed to easily understand lots of concepts!


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