Weather Activities for Kids
Spring is upon us, and it is the perfect time to teach your weather unit in science! Depending on where you live, spring likely showcases a lot of diverse weather patterns which makes this the prime time for weather observations and experiments. If you’re teaching weather right now (or about to), check out these fun weather activities for kids to really engage your students.
5 Weather Activities for Kids
1. Cloud Demonstration
In this simple science experiment, students will observe what causes clouds to rain. For this activity, you will need:
- A jar
- Food coloring
- Pipette or dropper
- Shaving cream
First, fill the jar with water. Then, top the jar off with shaving cream. The shaving cream will represent a cloud. Add some food coloring to water, and use the dropper to drop some colored water on top of the shaving cream slowly. At first, nothing will happen. However, as more food coloring drops are added, eventually the shaving cream will no longer be able to hold the heavy drops.
When this happens, students will observe “rain” as the food coloring hits the water in the jar below the cloud. Make connections to actual rain clouds, explaining how rain occurs when the droplets that make up the clouds get too heavy that they can no longer remain in the air.
2. Warm Air vs. Cold Air
Another simple weather science experiment demonstrates how cold air sinks while warm air rises. For this weather activity for kids, you will need:
- Large container of water
- Pitcher of cold water
- Pitcher of hot water
- Blue food coloring
- Red food coloring
Add blue coloring to the pitcher of cold water, and red food coloring to the hot water in order to distinguish between the two. Slowly, pour one pitcher into one side of your large container. Pour the other pitcher into the other side of the container.
Now, observe what happens! You should see the red water rise above the blue, ultimately resulting in all the red water on top of all the blue water. This same concept happens with air, too – warm air rises, while cool air sinks.
3. Water Cycle in a Bag
You can’t teach a weather unit without doing a water cycle in a bag! This is one of the most popular weather activities for kids, for good reason! Water cycle in a bag perfectly demonstrates how the water cycle works. Here’s what you need:
- Ziplock bags (1 per student)
- Permanent markers
- A window
- Blue food coloring (optional)
Each student will first decorate their bag to show a water cycle diagram: water at the bottom, the sun and clouds in the sky. Fill the bottom of the bag with water – up to the water line drawn on the bag for reference. (Optional: add blue food coloring to the water beforehand).
Once this is done, tape each student’s bag to a window. This will take some time, but check back periodically to observe what happens. Overtime, the water line should lower, evidencing evaporation. Small water droplets will begin to form at the top of the bag, showing condensation. Eventually, the droplets will become larger and start dripping down the sides of the bag – precipitation.
4. Tornado in a Jar
Show your students what a tornado formation looks like by creating a tornado in a jar! For this experiment, you will need:
- A jar with lid
- Dish soap
- Food coloring
- Optional: vinegar, beads or other “debris”
Fill the jar up most of the way with water. Top it with some dish soap and 1-2 drops of food coloring. (Optional: Add in a little bit of vinegar if the mixture gets too bubbly to work. You can also add in some beads or other small objects to resemble debris.)
Place the lid on the jar, and swirl it around. You should see a tornado forming inside the jar. (Note: if there are too many bubbles, you won’t be able to see it. Try scooping some out or letting it sit for about 30 seconds after swirling it to let the bubbles settle.)
5. Student Weather Journals
One of my favorite weather activities for kids is student weather journals. Having your students observe and record the weather each day helps make this subject more relevant to your students! To get the most out of this activity, have your students observe the following each day:
- Today’s weather
- Today’s temperature
- The types of clouds in the sky (if any)
Then, using those observations, have students predict what the weather will be like tomorrow! They can be little meteorologists.
To learn more about how to use weather journals with your students, check out this blog post.
I love the Cold Air Vs. Warm Air activity. I just developed a lesson about Conduction, Convection, and Radiation. I think this would be a great activity to add for the kids. I struggled with finding an example to visualize the process of convection taking place. This one is a winner!