Weather Activities for Kids: Rain or Shine

Written by Simple Kids editor Kara Fleck

At this time of year, the weather seems to change almost daily. This fluctuation makes weather watching especially fun. Every day there is something new to discover!

Observing the Weather

As long as the conditions are safe to be outside, the kids and I try to be outdoors at least once a day. Sun, rain, or snow, our main method of weather observation is getting out there and experiencing it!

While we’re outside, I encourage the kids to think about what we are experiencing with our senses.  We make a note of the temperature and I like to give them some gentle prompting to make observations on their own.  This year my third grader is learning to read a barometer as well.

Some Thoughtful Questions to Ask:

  • What does it LOOK like outside?
  • What does the air FEEL like on your skin?
  • What do we HEAR?
  • What does it SMELL like outside?
  • What should we WEAR on a day like today?

Keeping Track of Your Observations

There are many different options for a homeschooling family wanting to record their weather observations. Today I’m sharing with you two fun methods that our family has used.

A Weather Tree

Last year, our family made a weather tree. (You’ll notice my toddler helped fill in the weather tree as well.)

I have noticed a few variations of this, but here is what we did:

  1. First, we photocopied a picture of a tree from the book All Year ‘Round (you could draw your own tree, too)
  2. We assigned a color code for different types of weather.
  3. Each day we would observe the weather and then color in the date’s leaf with the appropriate colored pencil.

A Weather Spinner

This year, prompted by our Oak Meadow 3rd grade syllabus, we made a weather spinner.

  1. I drew a large circle on a piece of paper.
  2. Jillian colored a picture with weather that was sunny, snowy, rainy, and windy.
  3. Then we made an arrow and cut out both the arrow and the circle.
  4. We attached the arrow to the center of the picture with a brad.
  5. We glued them to a piece of cardboard, being careful to place glue only around the edge of the circle so that our arrow was free to spin around the chart.

Our finished weather chart hangs on our bulletin board, waiting for us to move the arrow to the corresponding weather each day.

Other Fun Weather Resources

As my kids get older, I know that our weather studies will grow more complex.  For now, though, we are all enjoying these simple weather study charts and our daily time outdoors  – rain or shine!

How do you incorporate weather study in your homeschool? Do you have a favorite method for charting your observations?

About Kara

Kara is the editor of Simple Kids. She balances life as a mother of four with writing and homeschooling.

Comments

  1. That weather spinner is awesome! We’ve been doing some science experiments, but not much tracking this year. I love this idea :)
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  2. although my son is still a toddler of 21 months i did a weather spinner plus with it a day-night spinner so every night we turn the arrow on night and every morning on day as well as on how the weather is looking :) its a nice idea even if he doesn’t quite seem to get into it yet.

    • Melissa, what a great idea! I have a four year old who is very into the moon right now – always asking if the moon is out yet, what shape the moon will be tonight, if it is night time yet …. I think he would really like something like your day to night spinner. I think I’ll be copying this idea – thank you! :-)
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  3. We haven’t actually studied weather with pen and paper but we go out in all weather, all year round to hike, camp & backpack. We sure have learned a lot about weather that way, in the real life sense of how to stay warm & dry, how to read the clouds, understanding pressure and elevation, and much more.

    I love how being outdoors gives us more than just exercise and time together but contributes significantly to our kid’s education.

    http://www.adventureinprogress.com/family-outdoors

    • Exactly! One of the best ways to learn about the weather is just to get out there and BE in it, just like you said :-)

      As long as the conditions are safe, rain or shine, we like to be outside, too. And, I’ll admit that I am that crazy mom who will risk being pelted and run outside to scoop up a handful of hail stones for the kids, too.

      One of the things I think is the greatest gifts of homeschooling is that we don’t just have to limit ourselves to the pictures in books or lessons on paper. Those things can be wonderful of course, but how fantastic to be able to teach about things by seeing them with our own eyes and feeling them with our own skin.
      Kara @Simple Kids’s latest post: Fire Safety Month and At-Home Fire Drills

  4. What lovely new ideas!
    I made my youngest child a weather chart with dials that turn and slide to show the weather and calendar.

    You can download it free. Scroll down to #2 Day, Week, Month, Season and Weather Chart.

  5. Weather is interesting- my big girls like to compare and contrast different family members’ weather at weather.com
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  6. I love both these ideas. Thanks Kara!

    My husband is bit of a weather nut so I bet he’d be bursting with pride if I did a weather-related activity like this with his progeny. Just like he loves when they tell him about their science lessons!

  7. The weather tree is such a fun idea! I think we might make one of our own for November. :)
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  8. Mother of Pearl says:

    To start with my kids just got into reading the weather forecast in the paper each day. This led to lots of opportunities to talk about weather and just made them more aware of weather.

    I live in a college town and every year the meteorology students club puts on a family weather day. They have weather games, experiments, giveaways, and demonstrations plus the local tv station comes and sets up a green screen so the kids can try their hand at doing a weather report on camera. It is tons of fun and very inspirational for the kids to talk with so many people who are fascinated by the weather.

  9. These are good ideas. I keep wanting to photocopy that tree from All Year Round; maybe I’ll do it for the new year. One very simple thing that I often do is to just have my girls watch and feel the weather. If it’s raining, snowing, hailing (which is very rare here) or just extremely windy, I’ll open the back door for 30 seconds and have them stand in front of it. It sounds so basic, but it really draws them into the present moment and they experience the weather with all their senses.
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  10. Jean-Marie says:

    We just completed our 1st grade weather unit. My daughter kept a weather observation chart. She would observe: 1) the weather (sunny, partly cloudy, cloudy, rainy or snowy); 2) record the temperature and determine if it was hot, warm or cold; 3) the wind speed – calm, light breeze and strong breeze – using her homemade anemometer; 4) the wind direction with a homemade weather vane; the humidity by observing the water vapor droplets that form on a glass of ice outside for 10 minutes in the shade and 5) cloud types by using a chart she made with cotton balls (although now she knows them by heart). And now we just naturally discuss the weather everyday. We also used a shadeless table lamp and inflatable globe to demonstrate how the Earth rotates on an axis to create day and night and how the Earth orbits around the sun on a tilt to create the season. She LOVED it. It’s so exciting when you learn about the world around you.

  11. We love weather, all kinds! We are no longer at Waldorf but the thing I loved most about my daughter’s schooling there, besides Ms Annie of course, was the opportunity the children had to be outside IN THE WEATHER everyday. A fun activity for older students and the weather is to have them log a daily “view of my tree” and fill in a leaf as you described, but they will need two trees printed out. Then find them an email pen pal across the world, and have that child do the same. Each day they email each other with a color for their tree. After one year they can see how the other person’s weather was different on some days or the same etc… They might even learn a little about climate in other places and if the kids become true pen pals they might even talk about all sorts of cool things. Search another waldorf parent site. My daughter has a pen pal in Honduras. Life is really different there and my child has come to understand and appreciate her blessings.

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