The weather is finally warming up where we live and we are enjoying more time outdoors. My children have recently started noticing the clouds and asking about them, so I thought now would be the perfect time to put together some cloud-related activities. Instead of just telling my kids how clouds are made, I decided to show them. The first activity we did was make a cloud in a jar! This is a simple experiment, but young children will need an adult to help them.
Spring is the perfect time for this experiment because you can go outside, lay on a blanket and observe the clouds. Start a discussion with your kids about how they think clouds are formed. When you go back inside show them how clouds are made!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A Glass Jar with Lid
- Boiling Water
- Aerosol Can (Hairspray, air freshener, etc.)
How to make a cloud in a jar:
Pour an inch or so of boiling water in the glass jar. Swirl it a bit to heat up the sides.
Turn the lid of the jar upside down and place ice on it. Place the lid on top of the jar.
Wait a few seconds the remove the lid and squirt air freshener into the jar.
You can place the lid back on the jar to watch the cloud form, or you can keep the lid off and watch the cloud escape.
Touch the cloud as it escapes from the jar. What does it feel like?
Why it works:
Clouds in our atmosphere need three things to form: water vapor, something to cool the water vapor, and particles to condense upon, which is called cloud condensation nuclei. In our atmosphere cloud condensation nuclei could be dust, smoke, pollution, and even sea salt. In our jar, the warm water vapor rose to the top of the jar and was cooled by the ice. Our cloud condensation nuclei was our air freshener, so when we sprayed it in the jar, the water vapor condensed on the particles of the hairspray and formed a cloud.
Pretty cool, huh? My kids loved doing this experiment.
Want more cloud activities? Check these out!
- Rain Cloud in a Jar
- Cloud Parfaits -Yum!
- Make Cottonball Clouds
- Read “Little Cloud” by Eric Carle together.
Don’t forget to just lay on a blanket and observe the clouds! Who doesn’t love pointing out the different shapes of the clouds?
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