As we were driving yesterday, Annabelle pointed out the clouds, and predicted that it was going to rain. I took advantage of this teachable moment, and asked her a series of questions:
Why do you think it's going to rain?
What do those clouds look like?
What's in those clouds?
What happens when it rains?
We talked about the different types of clouds, and how they formed.
Then I got to thinking. A few searches around the internet directed me to two fun science experiments to help better explain the water cycle.
The first experiment involved a jar, water, food coloring, medicine dropper, and some Barbasol shaving cream.
We filled the jar about 2/3 with water, and topped it with shaving cream.
It looked just like a puffy cumulus cloud!
Next, I filled a bowl with a little water and blue food coloring.
The girls had a great time squeezing and dripping the colored water onto the shaving cream cloud.
Once I scraped a heap of shaving cream off the top of the jar, things started moving more quickly.
The girls were astonished when the shaving cream clouds filled with blue water, and began to "rain" down.
I explained that the sun warms the water on the ground, and it evaporates into the sky, where it's colder.
We filled this jar about 1/3 of the way with hot water. I also took advantage of this opportunity to make myself a cup of tea! Food coloring is optional here, but it makes it easier to see what's happening, and adds an element of fun for the kids.
A slightly larger bowl of ice was added to the top, and we waited and watched.
After some time, the water collected at the bottom of the bowl (condensation), and it rained down onto the table.
That moment. The moment when I could tell that Annabelle had truly learned something, about how clouds are formed. She made a cloud! And she made it rain!
After all that excitement, it was time for a snack.
We always love finding snacks that are fun AND healthy.
Both girls had a good time making (and eating) rain clouds.