Toddler Activity: Stormy Clouds Experiment

Rain rain, go away, come back another day! Or if you insist on staying, it’s a perfect time to introduce the water cycle to toddlers.

Mila LOVE experimenting. I try to tailor to her learning style as much as I can. She would prefer doing an experiment every day, but that’s not always possible. Thankfully, teaching her about rain and the water cycle gives us an amazing opportunity to get dirty and make what she calls Stormy Clouds.

This experiment is fun for both toddlers and adults. It not only talks about the rain cycle, but you can incorporate color recognition, the Scientific Method, and motor skills too; so much learning packed in one rainy day activity.

Here’s what you’ll need to make stormy clouds:

I’m going to first start off by saying this activity can get messy. Whenever there is food coloring, it somehow gets everywhere. I’d recommend placing a plate, mat, or some sort of paper under your big jar. Of course, food coloring will clean up, but it’s nice to just take some precautions.

Once you get an area where you’ll experiment set up, fill a big clear jar with water. The jar I used had a lip on it. I filled it up to the bottom of the lip so it gave me some room to put the shaving cream.

Next, mix your food coloring with water in little jars and bowls. Your child will be either scooping the colored water with a spoon or using a pipette. I used very small Tupperware containers for this step. For the water/food color combination, I used 8-10 drops of food coloring and eyeballed the water. I wasn’t too scientific about the measurements!

Then, add shaving cream to look like a cloud on top of the BIG jar of water. I did this step after the food coloring because Mila would not have had enough patience to wait for all of the colors.

After you’re set with the cloud, have your toddlers start spooning or dripping the dyed water over the could.

It takes a little bit for the water to penetrate through the cloud, but once it does, it’ll look like rain drops are coming out of it. Mila enjoyed using purple the best since it was easier to see. Although, it was fun to do a huge mix of colors.

Throughout the experiment, we talked about how clouds make the rain and then it goes down to Earth. I’m not a huge science buff, so I turned to Little Raindrop, which is a cute book that talks age appropriately about the water cycle! It has adorable pictures and tells the story about a single raindrop. Mila got this when she was one and it was too advanced for her. At almost three, it’s perfect!

Even if your child is not interested in learning about the water cycle or even into rain, the activity is fun to just make a mess and play with colors. I showed a group of adults this activity and they enjoyed it too. It really is fun watching the shaving cream turn different colors.

Next time it’s raining or anytime you want a hands on activity to do with your child, this Stormy Clouds Experiment is perfect!

If you liked or tried this activity, let me know in the comments!

Check out these rainy day activities from other moms!

Toddler Activity: DIY Bird Feeders

Mila has been ultra curious about birds lately. When we wake up in the morning, she hears them singing and remembers that birds sing to us. She makes the cutest face every time she hears them. The downside is… she thinks all the birds are her friends and she wants to hold them. NOPE! If she sees them in the yard, she’ll chase after them. It’s hysterical.

Sometimes, we don’t get a lot of birds that fly on our tree or around our yard. It probably has a lot to do with the two year old that chases them and the big dog that’s never far behind. With Earth Day almost here (tomorrow), I figured out a way I could combine Mila’s new love for birds and an activity to teach her how to help them… DIY bird feeders.

I took my memory way back to elementary school when I first made one of these. Fortunately, I had recently purchased birdseed, so I had all the supplies at home too. As with anything, you can substitute these items with something better you have at home. It’s whatever is best for you and your child. I probably should have researched using something other than peanut butter. I’m allergic to it, but not severely. Mila loves it, which is why I keep it at home.

Supplies:

  • Toilet Paper Rolls
  • Bird Seed
  • Peanut Butter
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Knife (or spoon)
  • Baking Sheet (or something flat to roll bird seed on)

To make the bird feeder, it’s pretty easy.

First, I poured birdseed all across the baking sheet. I did this first because I didn’t want to be stuck with sticky peanut butter all over my hand, then try not to mix the two.

Next, I hole punched two holes in the toilet paper roll so I could easily put the string on it. You could also just put it all the way through.

After, I spread peanut butter all over the toilet paper roll. This can be a little messy.

Then, it’s rolling time. I just made sure to get an even amount of birdseed around the roll. For some parts, I had to push down with a little pressure to make sure it stayed. When I was done, I sat them up so the peanut butter could dry a little.

After it’s dried, it’s time to tie the string on the holes. Then you’re finished and can find the perfect place on your tree.

Obviously, this is a lot of steps for a two year old. I will say, Mila did try every step, besides cutting, tying, and hanging. The first roll we did together, she helped me put the peanut butter on the roll and enjoyed rolling the bird seed on. When I went to get the third one, the peanut butter was a little distracting for her. I’m unsure who got more peanut butter… the birds or Mila.

She ended up helping me roll birdseed on the last two, but thought managing and watching me was much more fun. I guess she’s a pretty cute boss.

We found spots in our tree where birds could sit on a branch and easily reach the feeder. With this activity, we were able to recycle the toilet paper rolls and help fees our local birds.

Mila definitely understood that the birds would come eat at our tree. She kept watching for them, but ended up chasing them off. One day, she’ll realize she can admire their beauty from afar. For now, she’ll keep running and stealing their peanut butter.

If you end up making recycled bird feeders, let me know in the comments!

Check out these other spring activities by other bloggers!