Cumulus clouds are usually fat and puffy, and your little one will have fun making these out of cotton balls.

How to Teach Preschool Children About Clouds

by Sara Ipatenco

Clouds can look like cotton candy and morph into interesting shapes in front of your eyes. If your preschooler is captivated by fluffy clouds that look like Mickey Mouse, teach her about what clouds are and what they do. Create some some hands-on activities that let her get up close and personal with the sky.

Observe the sky. Take your little one outside to lie down in the grass. Watch the clouds drift through the sky. Point out the different cloud shapes and ask her what she notices. Tell her that cirrus clouds are thin and streaky. "Look at that really thin one!" Stratus clouds form horizontally and often fill the sky. Cumulus clouds have flat bottoms and puffy tops "What does that one look like?" Watch the sky over two or three days and count how many of each type of cloud your preschooler sees. Tally them up and see which cloud she saw most often.

Make a cloud chart. Use a black marker to separate a piece of paper into three sections. Label the first section cirrus, the second stratus and the third cumulus. Head outside a couple times a day to look at the clouds. Ask your preschooler what kind of clouds he sees. He can then put a sticker on the chart. Tell him that cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals and often mean that warmer weather is on the way. Stratus clouds appear when the sky is cloudy or the weather is rainy or snowy. And the real fun are the cumulus clouds that appear over blue skies as the fun-looking shapes that kids love to watch while sitting on the grass, looking up. "It's Mickey -- and that one's Donald!" Cumulus clouds also appear before a thunderstorm, when skies are darkening -- as a storm warning.

Do art projects. Give your preschooler several cotton balls. Ask her to stretch them into different clouds. She might pull off tiny pieces to resemble cirrus clouds or puff up the top to become cumulus clouds. Hand your child a piece of blue construction paper and watch as she uses white glue to glue the cotton ball clouds to the paper. Do a messier project by letting your kiddo use craft paint to paint a piece of paper blue. Once it dries, let her paint different kinds of clouds with white craft paint. Review what kind of weather comes with each type of cloud as your child creates.

Share some stories about clouds with your little one. "The Cloud Book" by Tomie de Paola uses colorful pictures to teach your preschooler about the different kinds of clouds and what kind of weather they might bring. Have your child point out a cumulus cloud and ask him what type of weather they can bring. Ask him to tell you what the wispy clouds are called. (Cirrus). "Clouds" by Anne Rockwell is geared toward preschoolers and teaches what each kind of cloud is called. Before reading, ask your child to identify the clouds he sees in the book. Then read the story and praise him for his correct answers. Try "Shapes in the Sky" by Josepha Sherman as another entertaining way to learn more about clouds. Your child can tell you what each type of cloud is called and what weather each brings before you read the book. Who knows, after all this reading your cloud lover just might impress you with his accurate weather predictions.

Items you will need

  • Paper
  • Black marker
  • Stickers
  • Cotton balls
  • Blue construction paper
  • Glue
  • White paper
  • Blue paint
  • White paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Books


About the Author

Sara Ipatenco has taught writing, health and nutrition. She started writing in 2007 and has been published in Teaching Tolerance magazine. Ipatenco holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in education, both from the University of Denver.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images