Clouds are one of nature’s most fascinating daily occurrences! If you think about it, they are like a secret code from Mother Nature. If we can decode it, we will know what is to come. Use this All About Clouds Activity to help children learn how to decode the clouds!
I grew up in Seattle where there were basically two options: blue skies with puffy white clouds or a grey blanket across the whole sky (typically seeing the blanket). My daughter, on the other hand, is so lucky to be growing up in the Midwest where the clouds are constantly morphing, creating art like scenes in the sky on a daily basis.
Getting All About Clouds Activity Ready
My daughter and I are always noticing and commenting on the clouds. She likes to, as many other children do, find animals and objects in the clouds. Sometimes we find fairies and other times it’s elephants.
One day last week, I asked her if she knew clouds had names. She of course thought I meant John, Sally and Jane and started naming them herself. I laughed it off but made a mental note that learning about clouds would be a perfect activity for us!
I was excited to show my daughter a few of the different types of clouds. We stuck to four types, but depending on your child or students you may go with more.
We gathered our supplies and jumped right in. We used: Card stock, Cotton Balls, White Glue, and White Colored Pencil or Crayon. We also used the Sky Observation recording sheet.
Doing ‘All About Clouds Activity’
You will need:
- black cardstock
- cotton balls
- gray marker
For cirrus we took the cotton balls and rolled them into worm shaped pieces and then fluffed them out.
For stratus we pulled pieces of cotton apart slightly in a wispy way. We used a grey marker to color these cotton balls grey.
The cumulus are the puffy ones so we just took multiple cotton balls and glued them next to each other.
The cumulonimbus clouds we took multiple cotton balls and just pulled them apart slightly and made sure to make them flat at the bottom. This is also the tallest cloud, so we made them bigger than others. We also colored these clouds grey.
After we made our cotton ball clouds, I thought it was only fitting to go outside and observe the clouds that were in the sky at that moment. We drew what we saw and answered a few observing questions on this recording sheet.
As I made this sheet, I was hoping that we would have fun cumulus clouds that she could draw shapes that she saw. Unfortunately it was stormy and grey outside and we basically only had stratus clouds. It worked out really well, though, she enjoyed the observations as well.
The Science Behind ‘All About Clouds’
As we deconstructed cotton balls, formed them into clouds, and glued them on the paper we talked about each cloud. I would tell her the name, we’d go over spelling (because all of a sudden she wants to know how to spell EVERYTHING), and then what each cloud’s code is.
- Thin and delicate looking, like a paint brush stroke.
- Use these clouds to know which direction the wind is blowing. It appears as if cirrus clouds point the way.
- Made of ice.
- Located at a high level.
- Code For: It’s sunny now but the weather is about to change.
- Grey and soft looking, or smooth (Like the blanket sky in Seattle)
- Typically cover a big portion of the sky, if not all of it.
- Made of large water droplets.
- Code for: typically rain or snow storm.
- Big and Fluffy
- Bright White
- Made Of Water & Ice Droplets
- Can have lots of different shapes
- Code for: Sunny weather
- Look like a big batch of cotton candy, but mostly grey
- Tallest type of cloud
- Bigger at top than the bottom.
- Code for: Bad weather: tornadoes, harsh storms, wind, thunder & lightening, etc.
These four types of clouds were fun to discuss. My daughter LOVED the codes for each cloud.
Weather is super fascinating to me. I may not be on a storm chaser level, but I do enjoy a good storm. It was interesting for my daughter to learn that each cloud had a code and I’m sure she will be updating me on cloud status every few hours for the next week or so!
More Science Activities and Ideas
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Download Your All About Clouds Recording Sheet Below!
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I hope that you and your students enjoy All About Clouds Activity to use in your classroom this year!