World Meteorological Day – Teaching kids about the weather

Talking with children about the different types of weather can provide exciting starting points for their learning. Exploring the concepts of weather offers many fantastic opportunities for maths and science, and how to care for the environment and embrace the love of the outdoors! Weather is a great learning tool because it can lead to many opportunities for exploration, discovery and supports children’s understanding of science and the world around them.

From creating your own clouds and tornadoes, the Met Office website contains some great experiments that you can do with your child to help them to understand and learn about the weather and climate. 

If you're looking for inspiration, another useful source of creative ideas for weather can be found on the Science Sparks website.

And what  better way of teaching children about the weather then through music, which can help to describe the feelings of being cold when the snowflakes fall down, or feeling happy and warm when the sun comes out and describing the sound of whistling wind whirling around and raindrops falling down….

If you're teaching your kids to be more environmentally conscious, read our recent blog post on the subject. 

World Meteorological Day

Make a cloud in a jar:

What you need

  • 1 x glass jar with lid

  • 50ml boiled water from the kettle

  • aerosol can, for example hairspray

  • ice 

Boil water and pour it into the jar, making sure you only fill a quarter. Swirl it around so it heats up the sides of the jar. Turn the lid of the jar upside down and place a few cubes of ice for a few seconds on top.

Take the lid off and quickly spray in some hairspray. Put the lid back on, with the ice cubes resting on top and watch the cloud form inside the jar. When it is fully formed, take the lid off and watch the cloud escape.

World Meteorological DayHow does it work?

The atmosphere needs three ingredients to make a cloud:

1. warm, moist air

2. cooling (which causes the moisture to lift)

3. cloud condensation nuclei = CCN (which is a very small particle that can float in the air to help water vapour condense into clouds)

Here’s what happened to make your cloud

By pouring hot water into a jar and trapping it, you created warm, moist air.  As the warm air inside the jar rose, it was then cooled by the ice on top of the jar. When the water vapour cooled, it wanted to turn back into liquid, but it needed to condense onto a surface. The aerosol provided cloud condensation nuclei: a surface for the water vapour to condense into tiny cloud droplets. The cloud swirled inside the jar due to the circulation of warm air rising and cold air sinking.