Have you ever wanted to play with the clouds? This fun rain cloud in jar science experiement will give you and your children the chance to do just that — at least in part.
These shaving cream rain clouds will get your children excited about weather science and leave them wanting more! This is the perfect introduction or conclusion to your science unit on weather, storms, the water cycle or ecosystems.
>> See the other weather activities for kids here.
This rain cloud in jar experiment is super simple and super easy. And the result is amazing! So it will capture the attention of both younger and older children. So before we go into how to make a rain cloud in a jar, let’s go over some resources you may want, to take advantage of your children’s new interest in weather.
Recommended Weather Books for Kids
There’s nothing like a good book to help kids learn. And these are some of our favorites for teaching about weather and rain. Follow along with National Geographic’s fantastic line up of education books for kids, or try one of the cute stories on rainy weather, rainbows and having fun in the rain. What will be on your list today?
Worm Weather (Penguin Core Concepts)Rain Boy: (Kindness Books for Kids and Children, Teaching Empathy, Inclusion, and Diversity)Singing in the RainNational Geographic Readers: WeatherNational Geographic Kids Ultimate Weatherpedia: The most complete weather reference everNational Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Weather (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
As much as thunderstorms might be a little scary, rain can be soothing and fascinating. There’s nothing like a good rain shower to clean out the air and make the world feel clean and new again. Get up close and personal with a cloudburst with these shaving cream rain clouds! Let’s get started.
Supplies for Rain Cloud Experiment
You’ll need a large jar for this experiment. We like mason jars, but an old spaghetti sauce or cheese spread jar would work just fine. For best results, get a quart size or bigger jar.
You’ll also need some shaving cream and, of course, blue food coloring.
How to make a rain cloud in a jar
This experiment is actually really easy to do. First, fill your jar with water, leaving only about an inch between the surface of the water and the edge of the jar. Then spray some of the shaving foam on to the top. You’ll want enough to stick up above the jar.
Then comes the fun part. Let your kids drip some food coloring directly onto the shaving cream and watch what happens!
How Clouds Make Rain
Much like our experimental shaving cream floating on the water, clouds float in the atmosphere. Clouds are, essentially, made of vaporized water droplets that have collected together, with tiny particles of dust. The water condenses slightly around the dust, and those tiny droplets stick together.
Clouds are pretty much steam or fog banks, up in the sky where they belong. So no, unfortunately, you can’t walk, sit or lay down on a cloud, no matter how fluffy it looks.
Clouds attract more and more water, which condenses and collects inside the cloud. As it condenses, it sticks together and forms bigger droplets. Eventually, those droplets become too heavy to stay floating in the air, and they fall to the earth in the form of rain, snow, sleet, hail, ice pellets or other precipitation.
In our experiment, the food coloring is heavier than the shaving cream. So it seeps through the cream and “falls” into the water the shaving cream is floating on. The color looks like “rain” droplets, and create interesting patterns as more food coloring drips into the water.
Ready to create the rain cloud in a jar science experiment? Here’s the experiment in detailed form:
Rain cloud supplies
- 1-quart sized jar
- Enough water to fill the jar
- Foam shaving cream
- Blue food coloring
- Fill up the jar with water, leaving about an inch of space at the top.
- Add a layer of foam shaving cream in that inch of space. Don’t add too thick a layer, or the food coloring won’t make it through quickly.
- Add several drops of food coloring onto the top of the shaving cream.
- Watch! The food coloring will magically “fall” into the water.
- Observe your experiment for about 5 minutes to see all the changes.
Have fun with your shaving cream rain clouds!