Here is a super simple science experiment that teaches children about clouds and rain. It’s great fun to do at home or in the classroom and this rain cloud science experiment only uses commonly found ingredients.
The weather is changing where we live and we are seeing a lot more clouds appearing and rain falling. I often find myself focusing my daughter Possum’s (aged 3.5 years) attention to the clouds because they never appear the same and always interesting. We talk often about the shape and size of clouds and how they vary in shades of grey. These commonly occurring conversation led us to learning more about clouds and how it is that rain can fall from them.
I remember coming across a fun little science experiment while adding various pins to my Pinterest account. Super simple and using only a few commonly found ingredients, I knew we had to give it a go. It might just explain the concept of rain as a visual representation.
Recommended age: 2 years +
(Active supervision is required on all ideas shared)
Rain cloud science experiment
You will need –
- Glass or jar
- shaving cream
- food colouring
Simply begin by asking your child to pour water into the glass, leaving about an inch from the rim.
Carefully add a layer of shaving cream to the water. Be sure not to make it too thick or you’ll find you’re having to wait a long time for the magic to begin and that’s a bit boring. The shaving cream represents a cloud and the water is the atmosphere.
Simply add a few drops of blue food colouring to the shaving cream. The weight of the food colouring will start to push through the shaving cream and fall down through the water that’s in the glass! This will look just like streaks of rain falling. Gorgeous.
For some children the concept is possibly too complicated, which is absolutely fine, but if you explain it using simple and familiar language they might just be able to make a connection between what is happening in the experiment to what they see in their own environment.
I chose to conduct this experiment outdoors so I could directly point to some of the clouds outside. I explained that the darker grey clouds were heavy with water droplets or rain (the food colouring) and that soon enough it would break free and begin falling to the ground, much like we could see in the experiment.
Possum absolutely loved watching the streams of blue food colouring fall like droplets through the shaving cream and then swirl around the water. She was inspired to ask lots of great questions but also found it a lovely and calming experience. Hopefully you get a chance to have a go at this experiment with the little ones in your life. I really hope they enjoy it.
How old are your children and would they enjoy this?
Here are a few other ideas you might like –
Ebooks available featuring Laughing Kids Learn
Follow Kate @ LaughingKidsLearn’s board Laughing Kids Learn on Pinterest.
You named your child possum…..
Yes! Lovely name, isn’t it. 😀
This is so cool . I am 10 years old and loved doing this . I have done this for my home work and I am proud.thanks for the support.
Oh Cheyenne, that’s so awesome. Congratulations and I’m glad you had fun doing this. 🙂
what are the ingredents for the rain cloud siencie ecperiment???
This is so cool I am going use this for my science fair project
That’s so awesome and it would be perfect for a science project. 🙂
My son is 11 and he will enjoy this! I think as a tween boy he’ll enjoy black food colour. 🙂
Hi Lucinda! Oh I have no doubt your 11 year old would love this. It would be interesting to see it with black food colouring. 🙂
Anna @ Kids Play Space says
ok, this is perfect! I know some of my kiddos in the clinic (paed OT) would love to do this – this week! (and my son too!) Thanks for the inspiration!
Oh I can just imagine Anna! Thank you so kindly for your comment. 🙂
The little guys love anything with water. This is great.
Totally agree with you. Thanks Kev.
Gabby and Ruby says
We are using it his for our science fair experiment and have lots of fun watching the food colouring react to the shaving cream.Thank you LAUGHING KIDS LEARN.
That’s so fabulous! Thanks guys. 🙂
Could you use whipped cream or ‘cool whip’ instead of shaving cream with the same results?
I think you possibly could Shelley. It would be worth giving it a go. 🙂
Carol Lee Lutsinger says
it would probably stink and grow mold.
Can you use plastic clear cups for this activity?
Absolutely Cindy! Have fun with this idea.
Mia Anthony says
Hi there im 12 and i have a class science projet and i have no idea what todo and my mum told me about this experiment so i think i will do it because its easy to talk about,cheap,and easy todo
Fantastic Mia. Glad I could help you out. Good luck with it all.