As a child, I can remember looking up at the clouds and wondering how rain could fall from something that looked so light and fluffy.  Now with my own children, they have begun to question some of the fundamental workings of our weather.  What better way to teach them in a way that is easy to understand than through a little touch of science in this preschool STEM activity!

Materials You Will Need:

  • 2 cups
  • 2 pipettes
  • 1 large jar or glass
  • Food coloring
  • Shaving cream
  • If you choose to use more than two colors, just adjust the amount of cups and pipettes to match!

Preschool STEM Activity Preparation:

  1. Put water into each cup.
  2. Add a few drops of food coloring to each cup. Using at least two different colors will make it more fun!
  3. Place a pipette in each cup.
  4. Fill the jar/large glass about half way with water.

Now that the materials are laid out and ready to go, talk to the children about what each part represents.  In this case, the water in the jar is the air, the shaving cream will be the cloud, and the colored water will be the rain.  

Steps To Make Rainclouds:

  1. Ask the children what they think will happen.
  2. Squirt the shaving cream on top of the water in the jar; fill it to the top!
  3. Allow the children to fill their pipettes and add the colored water on top of the shaving cream. Show younger children how to use the pipettes and offer hand over hand assistance if needed.
  4. Watch what happens! Talk about it with descriptive words.

As the colored water saturates the “cloud” it begins to get heavier.  As it continues to weigh down the cloud, the water will seep through into the “air” below.  The color that comes through represents the rain!  Take a moment to compare what the children initially thought would happen with what actually happened. Can they draw a picture of what they observed?

Asking open ended questions throughout any activity is great way to enhance learning and get children really thinking.  The questions encourage children’s creativity, reasoning, and curiosity. During this preschool STEM activity ask, “What do you think will happen when we add the colored water?” The question encourages the child to use critical thinking skills which in turn will help them to better relate the results to future or past experiences.

Click here to read last week’s STEM activity and come back for a STEM activity you can do outdoors

About The Author

Sarah PSarah Proctor has worked with young children for over 25 years as a teacher, childcare director, nanny, and mom of two girls. She has her Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education and Administration from UMass Amherst. In addition, Sarah has her Director 2 certification from the Department of Early Education and Care. 

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