The Changing Weather
Teaching preschoolers about the different types of clouds, and what to expect from them can offer fun crafts and activities, while leading into other fun weather projects. Help your kids to monitor weather conditions and dress appropriately, by simply determining the different cloud types, and the corresponding weather conditions they bring with them.
Cloud in a Bottle Experiment
The teacher must present the “Make a Cloud in a Bottle” experiment in front of the class (without student participation) due to the safety hazard of a lit match. Although a match is used to represent atmospheric dust, it goes right out, and is otherwise a safe way to demonstrate how clouds are formed.
The Different Types of Clouds
Although there are several combination cloud types, as illustrated in the Web Weather for Kids online “Clouds Types” section, we will only cover the basic formations. It has to be simple enough for young children to grasp the connection between major cloud groups and the expected weather from them.
Cumulus clouds are the big billowy, puffy white “cotton ball” clouds that can predict thunderstorms, and rain showers. Another type of cumulus clouding can also become spiraling tornadoes, which demand immediate, emergency shelter.
Pass out several cotton balls to your students to represent cumulus clouds. Have them glue cotton balls onto the top edge of an index card, with white craft glue and allow them to dry. Label the card “Cumulus Clouds” and allow children to draw rain drops, and a lightening strike, coming from the cotton balls.
Cirrus clouds are sheer-wisps of streamers or fish-scales, usually covering the sky. These clouds generally mean good weather.
This time pass out cotton balls, and show your students how to pull them apart to become see-through. Have your students draw a yellow sun on another index card, and carefully glue the shredded cotton over it.
Once the craft glue has dried clear, it will expose the sun shining through the clouds. Label this index card “Cirrus Clouds”.
Stratus clouds can be billowy like cumulus clouds, wispy like cirrus clouds, or appear as a thick fog, however these clouds are usually gray to black in color. The lighter colored clouds can pass over without raining, or dissipate as with fog.
The darker-color stratus clouds are worse, usually foretelling continuously, heavy rains, or snow blizzards. Precautions need to be taken for appropriate dress in these rains, or snow storms.
These clouds can be represented with several cotton balls, glued down to an index card. Once the glue has dried, paint the clouds and the entire card with a gray watercolor paint. Allow the paint to dry and label this one “Stratus Clouds”.
This lesson on clouds could also be used in conjunction with “Pre-K and Kindergarten Lessons: Dressing for Weather” to help overcome young students’ weather-dressing confusion, with the aid of personal weather clocks, coinciding with a classroom weather board. Teach your youngsters about the nature around them, as the clouds can predict weather changes important to preschoolers and their parents.