What better way to learn about science and nature than to learn about clouds. Wispy, fluffy, and dark, clouds take many forms. Children of all ages love learning about weather and clouds. In this post I give you my best cloud resources and activities for kids.
When learning about science it is important to not only gain science knowledge, but practice science skills. These worksheets and activities do both. Learn about clouds in a fun way while:
- Sorting and Classifying
- Making Observations
- Writing Creatively
Understanding all of the different types of clouds can be a little confusing, if I'm being perfectly honest.
I absolutely love clouds, but all of the fancy scientific terms that scientists use to describe them can make learning about them very confusing for a young child.
Simple and Easy Science Lessons
All of these activities keep it simple and easy. Depending on the age and interest level of your child you can modify the activities up or down.
Pair these with weather lessons, a water cycle printable, weather worksheets, or even a weather unit.
Or simply use each as a stand alone activity to foster their natural curiosity to learn about weather and clouds.
Using Cloud Charts and Resources
If your child is really into learning about clouds, I recommend using a guide book or pamphlet that shows real images of clouds along with a cloud identification charts.
To help your child learn about clouds, check out the bottom of the post for cloud resources including cloud charts, books, and websites.
Keep a Cloud Journal
The best way to get young learners interested in learning about clouds is to head outside and observe clouds. Keeping a cloud journal is fun for kids of all ages and abilities.
Related Post: Nature Journaling with Kids a guide to get you started!
Simply use a blank spiral bound notebook to create a journal. If you would like to make one using printer paper and ribbon, I included a free downloadable template below.
Observe the clouds each day or multiple times a day. Kids of all ages will enjoy drawing illustrations of the clouds they see outside.
Then add a few descriptive words to go along with the illustration. Young learners can practice writing the word cloud, sun, or rain to go along with their drawings.
Bring along the watercolor paints or colored pencils to add details to the sketches. Simple and easy, yet fun and engaging.
If older learners are ready to start adding the names to the clouds, have them use a guide to label the different types of clouds.
Make a Digital Cloud Journal
Another way to keep a cloud journal is to have your child take photographs of the clouds they see outside. Then turn the cloud photos into a digital journal complete with text.
There are endless programs available online for kids to use including Google Slides or Prezi. If they are really into clouds they could record video to add to a digital journal.
Once the journal is complete, kids can practice presenting their digital journals in small groups as a way to practice public speaking.
Cloud Sorting Activity
This type of activity is one of my favorite ways to introduce a new topic or unit. It is best to do this activity before your kids have learned about the different cloud types.
Making Observations vs Using Cloud Names
Young learners will sort and classify pictures of clouds into groups. Instead of sorting by basic type of cloud or specific cloud names, kids will create their own classification system.
In other words, children will sort by characteristics that they observe in the photographs.
For example, one group can contain clouds that are near the ground. Another for clouds that are wispy. And a third for ones that look like fluffy cotton balls.
If kids think they know the kind of weather associated with the clouds shown in the picture they could make a category for storm clouds or fair weather clouds.
Sorting Activity Directions:
- Cut out the pictures of the different types of clouds (free download below)
- Have your kids create their own classification system by sorting the images into at least 3 groups.
- Once sorted, have them explain what characteristics they used to form the groups.
- Then have them explain why each cloud fits into that group.
- Explanations can be written down or stated out loud.
This activity is fun for one child to do alone or with a partner. If multiple kids or partners complete the activity it can be fun to share the different classification systems.
For this activity, there is no wrong answer as long as children can say why a cloud fits into a specific group.
Free Downloadable Cloud Photographs
Benefits of Creating their Own Classification System
By creating their own classification system they are using critical thinking skills.
Analyzing and organizing are higher levels of thinking compared to simply identifying and recalling facts.
This introductory cloud activity practices those higher level thinking skills in a fun and engaging way.
Types of Clouds Worksheet
Another way to use the photos of the different types of clouds is to pair them with a types of clouds worksheet. In this activity kids can identify the main types of clouds. I created two versions (3 types and 4 types) because different resources group clouds into 3 or 4 main groups.
These interactive worksheets are designed to go with the cut out photo pictures of the clouds from the sorting activity. Simply select one or more photos that show the cloud type.
To go along with the different types, have them summarize the characteristics of each type. Encourage kids to write in short points verses whole sentences to keep them from simply rewriting whole sentences from a resource.
Free Printable Worksheets PDFs
Resources about the main types of clouds can be found at the end of the post. One site more geared towards kids, breaks clouds into 3 main groups, while NOAA's site breaks them into 4 groups.
A Day in the Life of a Cloud
What better way to get young learners interested in writing about science than to have them write a story. For this activity, kids will use one of the photographs of clouds from the sorting activity or they can take their own picture.
Using the photograph, kids can write a day in the life of a cloud story. Encourage them to write the story from the point of view of the cloud in the picture.
Depending on the age of the child, will depend on how much science content they include. The charts below can help guide kids of different ages.
|sun||water or ice|
|grey clouds||rain clouds|
|cumulonimbus clouds||ice crystals|
|cirrus clouds||water droplets|
|stratus clouds||wispy clouds|
|nimbus clouds||high winds|
|nimbostratus clouds||heavy rain|
|low altiude||high altitude|
End of Cloud Unit Summary
After learning about clouds have kids write a summary about what they learned. Summarizing is another critical thinking skill. Summaries are short and give an overview of what they learned.
A great way to prepare to write a summary is to have them create a brainstorm or outline. Then have them write out the summary in words.
Afterwards go through together and have them make it about one paragraph in length. The process of shortening their summary is allowing them to process what they learned as they condense the information.
If you truly understand a topic, then you can break it down into an easy to follow summary. Summarizing instead of just stating facts, practices critical thinking skills. This is one reason why I love integrating summary writing with science.
Resources for Kids
- The Cloud Book by R. Hamblyn: My absolute favorite cloud resource. I always included it in my free choice reading books in my classroom. Information packed, but kids love it due to the large photographs of clouds.
- Peterson's First Guide to Weather and Clouds by V. Schaefer and R. Peterson: A small field guide style resource with images and information. Perfect to bring along outside on an outdoor adventure.
*These are not affiliate links
Free Cloud Resources
While looking for resources I found that they are either very complicated or very basic. I included both types below.
- Breaks clouds into 3 main types: cumulus, stratus, and cirrus
- Kid friendly explanations of each type
- Cloud photograph of each type of cloud
- Additional pages that explain: nimbus, cumulonimbus, and fog
- Information about humidity, water vapor, and precipitation
- Easy for kids to understand
- Great resource for science specific vocabulary
- Great for older learners or as a teacher resource
- Divides clouds into 3 groups: High Level Clouds, Mid-Level Clouds, and Low-Level Clouds
- Provides information about the 10 main cloud types:
- High Clouds: cirrus, cirrocumulous, and cirrostratus
- Middle Clouds: altocumulus, altostratus, and nimbostratus
- Low Clouds: cumulus, cumulonimbus, and stratocumulous
- The text description is not geared towards young learners, but I like that the cloud chart is clickable. By selecting a cloud picture, a larger version is generated on the screen.
How to Paint Clouds Step by Step Tutorial Follow along with Keiran in this easy step by step guide using canvas and acrylic paint. Perfect for older kids who are interested in strengthening their art skills.