Observe and learn about the different cloud types in the sky, and do a fun word search! We can think about different weather we’ve experienced, and then create a diagram showing the cloud types. Created By Lauren Theis, Director of Education
Level: Pre-K to Elementary
Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Setting: Indoors, looking out window or in your backyard
- Nature Journal or Paper and Pencil
- Construction Paper
- 3 cotton balls per child
Cirrus: Wispy white cloud (usually of fine ice crystals) at a high altitude
Stratus: Low clouds that stretch over large portions of sky, creating overcast conditions
Cumulus: Large, white, puffy clouds that generally appear during fair weather, although they also form thunderheads on hot days. Some carry rain.
Lie on your back outside on a blanket or look out a window – look up at the clouds. Describe them:
- Are they puffy, layered, wispy? What color are they? Are they all the same kind?
- Are they moving? Which way are they going?
- If you’re outside, blow some bubbles to see which way the wind is going. Are the clouds moving in the same direction as the bubbles?
- From the key, what kind(s) of clouds are in the sky today?
Have children draw a picture or write a story about the most exciting weather they’ve ever experienced. Afterward, share their pictures and stories.
Create a Cloud Chart
- Explain that stratus and cumulus are low clouds while cirrus are high clouds.
- Give each child a sheet of blue construction paper and three cotton balls.
- Have each child draw a landscape, which could show mountains, a forest, a town, or whatever they choose. They can add things to the sky such as a flying bird near the ground, a jet plane near the top of the page, and a hot-air balloon in the middle – making sure to leave enough space for the clouds!
- Once they are done drawing, have children put three kinds of clouds in their pictures – cumulus, stratus and cirrus. Demonstrate how to form the cotton balls into the three types of clouds:
- Unroll one cotton ball to make a stratus cloud
- Use some fine strands of cotton for the cirrus clouds.
- Make a puffy heap with the others for the cumulus cloud.
- Glue the stratus and cumulus clouds near the ground and the cirrus clouds at the top of the page.
- Optionally, children may write the cloud names on their cloud charts.
How did you like this activity? Please share any questions, comments, or photos that you and your child have on the Raritan Headwaters Learning Community Facebook Page!
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