5 Weather Science Experiments for Preschoolers

science experiments
Image via Mindi Stavish

Even though it's just the end of January, this has seemed like a very long winter. The temperatures in our area and around the country have been arctic cold. It's dangerously cold for any sort of outside activities, including trips to the playground.

Last week, we were home for five straight days due to a snow storm. By the third day, my kids were done with staring at the same walls. In an effort to combat cabin fever, I hopped on Pinterest, found a few simple weather science experiments, and hunted for materials around the house.

The end result kept us busy for a few mornings with these fun activities.

{ MORE: Your Kids Will Thank You: 5 Last Week of Summer Activities You’ve Got to Try! }

rain cloud
Image via Mindi Stavish

Rain Clouds

Materials:

  • Glass jar
  • Shaving cream
  • Food coloring
  • Water

Instructions:

  1. Fill glass jar with water.
  2. Put shaving cream in the top of the jar.
  3. Have your child squirt food coloring on top of the shaving cream.
  4. Watch and wait for the food coloring to trickle through the clouds (shaving cream) and rain colors into the jar.
crystalized snowflakes
Image via Mindi Stavish

Crystallized Snowflakes

Source: Gift of Curiosity

{ MORE: The Gift of Boredom }

Materials:

  • Water
  • Borax
  • Glass jar with large opening
  • String or yarn
  • Pencil
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Create a snowflake by cutting pipe cleaners into pieces and twisting.
  2. Tie one end of the string to the middle of a pencil and tie the other end of the to the snowflake.
  3. Suspend the snowflake into your glass jar by laying the pencil across the top.
  4. Fill a pan with just enough water to fill your jar and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add 1 tablespoon of Borax to the water at a time, just until it no longer dissolves.
  5. Pour the Borax mixture into the glass jar and suspend the snowflake in it.
  6. Let the jar sit overnight.
  7. The next day, your kids will be amazed by the crystals on the side of the jar and on the snowflakes.
icicles
Image via Mindi Stavish

Salt Icicles

Materials:

  • Salt in a salt shaker
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Construction paper
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Cookie sheet

Instructions:

  1. Lay construction paper in a cookie sheet (to contain the mess).
  2. Have your child spread Elmer's Glue along the top of the paper. Lift up the paper and turn it up so the glue drips down like an icicle.
  3. Show your child how to sprinkle the salt on the glue and then tilt the paper up so it spreads along the glue forming the icicles.
  4. Allow to dry.

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Optional: Using an eye dropper, have your child drip different colors into the salt and watch the color spread.

melting ice berg
Image via Mindi Stavish

Melting Icebergs

Source: Stir the Wonder

Materials:

  • Small plastic toys (preferably arctic animals)
  • Plastic container
  • Plastic ziploc bags
  • Food coloring and/or glitter
  • Water
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Sugar

Instructions:

  1. Place zip lock bag into a container so it sits in the container securely.
  2. Place plastic animals in the zip lock bag and fill about 3/4 of the bag with water.
  3. Help your child squirt food coloring into the bag. You can also put glitter into the bag as a fun effect.
  4. Carefully lift the bag of water out of the container and fill remainder of the bag with water.
  5. Close the zip lock bag and place in the freezer until completely frozen.
  6. Once frozen, open the bag and pull it away from the solid chunk of ice.
  7. Help your child experiment with the sea salt, sugar, and warm water to determine what will melt the iceberg the quickest in order to free the animal.

Extension: While your child is playing with the ice, talk about the difference between solid and liquid. Compare the difference the salt vs. the sugar makes on the ice in terms of helping it dissolve.

temperature of snow
Image via Mindi Stavish

Temperature

Materials:

  • Bowl of snow
  • Thermometer

Instructions:

  1. Fill a bowl with snow.
  2. Insert the thermometer into the snow and teach your child how to take a temperature reading.
  3. Bring the snow inside and have your child play with it. Once it all melts, take the temperature of the water and compare it to your previous reading.

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What weather-related science projects have you tried with your kids?

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What do you think?

5 Weather Science Experiments for Preschoolers

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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