Cultivate Wonder

Exploring Science with Children

C is for Cloud

Look up in the sky, and what do you see? At a recent Wonderworks (our preschool science program) we explored clouds.  Children had fun guessing what shapes were in Charles Shaw’s classic, It Looked Like Spilt Milk.

Next we talked about different kinds of clouds, reading parts of Anne Rockwell’s Clouds in the Let’s Read and Find Out Science series.

In the weeks prior to the storytime, I took photographs of the sky at different times when I saw different clouds. Soon I had enough photographs to illustrate several different types of clouds that we would discuss: cirrus, cumulus, cumulonimbus and stratus. This was a great day for vocabulary — we talked about what a funny word cumulonimbus was, with the children repeating it several times. Hard c sounds and soft c sounds . . . c really is for cloud! This was a great exercise in observation skills, and I was able to tell the children that these were clouds they could see in the sky above them, because they were all Ohio skies in the photos.

Rhyme: Rain is Falling Down
Adapted from: Jane Cobb’s I’m a Little Teapot

Rain is falling down                          Flutter fingers downward
Splash!                                                 Tap floor with hand
Rain is falling down
Pitter patter, pitter patter
Rain is falling down
(repeat: falling lightly – just touch with fingers; falling hard –slap floor with whole hand)

We also read Dragon is Coming by Valeri Gorbachev and at the end talked about what each of the dragon’s attributes actually is; for example — the dragon’s roar is thunder, his fiery breath is lightning . . .

Next, we shook our rainstick style shakes to the song, “If all the raindrops were lemon drops and gum drops . . . “

A few other outstanding picture books on clouds and the imagination are:

Sora and the Cloud=Sora to komo by Felicia Hoshino – a bilingual book in English and Japanese

Sector 7 by David Wiesner, a Caldecott honor

and The Cloud Book by Tomie dePaola, which is also available as an e-book.

Hands on activities included making and playing with cloud dough (mix 1/2 cup baby oil with 4 cups of flour and voila! You have a sensory concoction that is crumbly and soft, yet sticks together when molded, like wet sand.)clouddough

and creating different kinds of clouds with cotton balls —


stretching them into long thin strips for cirrus clouds, fluffing them up to make cumulus clouds, and adding glitter to represent those water droplets getting so heavy that they are about to rain from the cumulonimbus clouds.

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