How to make Cloud Jars. Science for Kids

Apr 14, 2012

"Cloud Jars."  We've seen them around and they seemed so appealing that we just had to try them for ourselves!

We used this activity to practice fine motor skills, focus and coordination, all while learning the very basic concept of how clouds hold water and how when they become too heavy it starts to rain.

I'm not sure I've ever come across another activity that demonstrates this in such a fun, easy and spectacular way.

  Materials you'll need:
  • coloured water (you could colour your water with food dye or liquid watercolour), 
  • a clear jar/glass/vase with water in it, 
  • shaving foam 
  • an eyedropper/pipette


How to:
  • Squirt shaving cream on top of the water. 

  • Talk with your child/students about how the shaving cream is representing a "cloud" and that they are going to be filling the "cloud" with water to see what happens.

  • Ask them what they think will happen

  • Let the child drip coloured water on top of the "cloud"

Using fine motor skills, focus and coordination to transfer the coloured water from one vessel to the other

It takes a little while for anything to start happening but she was too busy having fun colouring the shaving foam to realise

 Oh wow. Look what's happening!

 It is "raining!" The "cloud" got too heavy and couldn't hold the water any more

Watching the colours swirl and form other colours and patterns in the water was fascinating. 

Eventually the water will become too discoloured to see the "rain" falling. If they want more (which they probably will!), just empty the container and repeat.

Some tips:

- Before experimenting with the "cloud jars," have your child practice and get used to water transfer using an eyedropper with this Colour Discovery Water Transfer activity

- Extend this activity by writing it up as a scientific experiment or by making a hypothesis, etc.
Children could  draw pictures of the stages of the experiment or write about what happened.

- Ask your child questions to help connect their understanding and use vocabulary to give them words to describe what they're creating, such as,
"You are putting the coloured water on the cloud. What do you think is going to happen?"

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it. 

- Use new language and descriptive words like, "transfer." This will help with their language development.

- If you have coloured water left, you could try experimenting with absorption and colour patterns

- We first saw this activity here on Teach Preschool. Go and check out their version too! :)

We love Science Activities 

Here's another two simple ideas you might like to try:

             Water Bottle Fountain                            Colour Discovery Water Transfer

Happy playing,
Debs :)

Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)