As someone who grew up around aviators (I was part of Civil Air Patrol in high school), the weather has always been something to note.
For pilots, the right weather conditions can mean the difference between flying or being grounded, so I always tend to keep an eye out on the current weather conditions and identifying cloud types.
For this activity, Monkey and Bo learned about identifying cloud types, what they mean, and how to make their own clouds from puff paint using STEM activities.
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Identifying Cloud Types: Puff Paint Clouds Weather Activity
Making these puff paint clouds is a fun way to learn about various cloud types.
If you’re in a rush, these are our favorite weather science kits.
- Puff paint recipe (we used this one from Meaningful Mama)
- Shaving cream
- Glitter glue (we used blue)
- Large bowl
- Blue cardstock paper
Before we started, we looked at this cloud map from Weather STEM. We discussed the types of clouds and when they form. We didn’t go over every cloud type (our paper was too small), but we discussed the clouds listed below:
Cumulonimbus: Huge, heavy clouds taking up most of the sky. These clouds usually indicate, rain, lightening, storms, hail, and ice. You see them a lot where we live in Texas.
Cirrus: Wispy, small clouds seen high in the sky. They are usually filled with ice and indicate a warm front is approaching.
Cumulus: The pretty, “picture perfect” clouds. You will usually see these after a few clear days after a storm, but they don’t indicate a storm is approaching.
Cirrostratus: These clouds cover a large surface area and look fog-like, but higher up in the sky. When this type of cloud is lower in the sky, it is called a stratus cloud and usually produces fog, drizzle, and cooler temperatures.
Stratocumulus: These clouds are layered cloud clumps spread throughout the sky at different elevations. They usually show up in lines or streaks and may or may not bring rain.
Nimbostratus: Nimbostratus clouds are similar to stratus clouds, but are usually darker in color, lower, and more likely to bring bad weather. Often, nimbostratus clouds cover most of the visible sky.
To make our clouds, we used a 12X12 piece of blue cardstock (necessary to not get soggy while using puff paint).
We mixed the puff paint recipe recommended by Meaningful Mama, but we doubled the amount of shaving cream. The kids went a bit shaving cream crazy, but the effect was perfect for making clouds.
The kids took paintbrushes and made their own clouds after identifying cloud types. After the clouds dried, we labeled them with a pencil.
Bo changed her paper into a giant glob of puff paint. She got paint EVERYWHERE and had to be bathed after. Because this project is so messy for young ones, I don’t recommend it for young children in a setting where they don’t have access to a bathtub.