Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cloud Identification Mobile

Since my son learned about clouds during our water cycle activity, I figured a more in-depth exploration of those fluffy beautiful (and sometimes ominous) sky shapes was in order.

Unfortunately, the day we did this activity there was ZERO clouds in the sky outside.
Bummer, eh? The good news, though, is that my son’s new Cloud Identification Mobile will help him ID them tomorrow.

Before we began this craft, we read a great book about clouds. It’s another Rena Korb masterpiece (we read Wild about the Water Cycle for our previous weather activity). This Science Rocks series is a perfect introduction to scientific investigation and comes with simple explanations and fun cartoon-like graphics that remind me of the PBS show “Word Girl.”

After reading, my son had a basic understanding of four types of clouds: Stratus, Cirrus, Cumulus, and Cumulonimbus. I gave my son four oval shapes that had a hole punched in them and asked him to draw each cloud type. Once he’d put his cloud shapes on the front, I wrote the name on the back along with a few of the facts noted in Korb’s book.

Then I cut strips of yarn and we worked together to tie them to each. We referred to Web Weather for Kids’ site, where a cloud diagram showed us where each cloud typically resides in the troposphere. My son positioned the cloud drawings accordingly (for example, we made the stratus clouds hang the lowest, since they are typically a low-lying cloud). I tied on a “clouds” label inside the hanger (I traced the hanger's shape on the paper before I cut it out).

How do I know my son loved this? When his father came home, the first words out of his mouth were, “Did you know there are different kinds of clouds, Dad?” Off to his room they went to look at the mobile. 


  1. When we did our water cycle unit I didn't even think to talk about the clouds. I love it and the mobile is a great idea. Also you know how I love the books and I have never heard of these. I must check them out!

  2. Do! They even have one on gravity, which I'm thinking I must check out from the library. The two we've read have made very abstract concepts much easier for my son to understand. Your water cycle unit was awesome, Sarah. I especially loved squeezing the cotton ball to simulate clouds dumping rain. Pure genius!

  3. Oh my you have such great ideas! I thought about doing something like this when we watched the little water cycle video that included cloud types, but we didn't have time to fit it in! Yours is great!

  4. Great idea to make a cloud mobile. I have a little guy who loves clouds, I'll have to help him make one. Thanks!

  5. I love the mobile idea - what a great way to reinforce learning!

  6. Clever mobile idea! Thanks for swinging by the Sunday Showcase each week and linking up!