Rain cloud in a jar

The rain just won't let up in these parts! And today it came down harder than usual.

So it is not a surprise that making a rain cloud in a jar was top on our agenda for the afternoon.  I had seen this activity circulating around the kids' craft blogosphere and thought it looked fun, not to mention educational. Although not technically an accurate simulation of a rain cloud, it provided a platform to highlight basic points of what causes rain to happen.

It was the perfect rainy day activity!

Materials we used:
  • Colorations Liquid Watercolor in different colors (I got this from Discount School Supply)
  • Glass Mason jar- quart size
  • water 
  • Shaving cream
  • 3 glass dishes to hold watercolor
  • Eyedroppers

Step one: Flll jar 3/4s way full with water. Add dollop of shaving cream. Be sure not to fill it too high (as I did), or the colored water will spill over the sides of the jar.

I explained to Bode that the shaving cream represented a cloud, and that we are going pretend that the water in the jar is air. Then I explained to him that a CLOUD is made up of lots and lots of water droplets, but that these water droplets are so tiny and light that they float. 

Step Two: Have child use droppers to apply watercolor to shaving cream. I chose to use 3 colors, although of course one color would suffice. We have been on a roll this month using the color theme in our projects, so I decided to continue in that vein (I couldn't resist the idea of rainbow rain!). Have child keep repeating application. Eventually the colored liquid seeps through, and can be seen as striations of color below the "cloud".

As my son kept adding more and more liquid to the shaving cream mass, I asked him, "What do you think would happen if more and more water is added to a cloud?
The cloud would get really heavy, right? And it would no longer be able to hold up all that water, and so the water would fall from the cloud."

We then observed the watercolors come down in striations, like rain. Bode was fascinated.

I took this opportunity to talk to Bode about the term PRECIPITATION.  "Precipitation is different forms of water falling from the sky. Rain is one form. What do you think other forms of precipitation are?" He guessed "snow" right away. I talked to him about hail and sleet also.

Pretty rainbow striations! I know, a perfect lead-in to talk about diffusion and circulatory displacement. But he is 4. Maybe in 5 years!

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  1. Awesome!!! You need to explain to me diffusion and circulatory displacement too. : )

  2. This is awesome!! Can't wait to try it out with my kids.

  3. Ooooh so pretty! Love it!

    Thank you for sharing on Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy & Alissa

  4. Wow, that's lovely. Love it that you make learning so entertaining!

  5. Hi. Visiting from the Weekly Kids Co-op. Thank you for sharing. After reading your post, I don't think I can resist doing this with my kids anymore :). Looks like great fun and so many learning opportunities throughout :)

  6. Such a fun idea! Thanks for linking up to Fun Stuff Fridays on Toys In The Dryer!

  7. Love this ! We live in the Pacific NW, so we are VERY familiar with rain ! :-)

    I can't wait to try this with my boys ! Thanks for the idea.

  8. This is a great idea and it looks a lot of fun! Thank you so much for sharing with our spring carnival. :)

  9. Just calling by again to let you know I featured your post here: http://sunnydaytodaymama.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/spring-carnival-is-nearly-over-and.html

  10. Can't wait to try this with my little guys :)


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