evaporation (and transpiration) : Evaporation is when the sun heats up water and the water gains heat and turns it into vapor or steam. The water vapor or steam leaves the river, lake or ocean and goes into the air.
condensation: Water vapor in the air gets cold and changes back into liquid, forming clouds.
precipitation: Precipitation occurs when a lot of water has condensed that the air cannot hold it anymore. The clouds get heavy and water falls back to the earth in the form of rain, hail, sleet or snow.
collection :When water falls back to earth as precipitation, it may flow back in the oceans, lakes or rivers or it may end up on land. When it ends up on land, it will either soak into the earth and become part of the "ground water" that plants and animals use to drink or it may run over the soil and collect in the oceans, lakes or rivers where the cycle starts all over again.