Making a rain cloud in a jar is a great experiment for kids that teaches them about the weather. My girls loved the original experiment so much that I sought to recreate it with a fun twist. My girls were so excited to revisit the experiment, and the results were pretty amazing!
Storm in a Jar
Materials needed for this experiment
Note: For best results you will want to use a black light. You can use a black light fixture or a black light flashlight; both work great! My kids personally love using the flashlight.
Preparing for the experiment
Before beginning the experiment discuss rain clouds and how they form. Talk about weather systems, storms, thunder, and tornadoes. You can find a great collection of weather related books at the bottom of this post. We read these books each night the week before conducting our experiment.
Setting up the experiment
Set up for this experiment is pretty simple. To make your glowing rain add a tiny amount of glowing paint to a souffle cup. Fill the cup with water, place the lid on the cup, and shake vigorously until the paint dissolves. Repeat the above steps for each color of glowing rain you wish to make
Rosie wanted to make a rain storm, and we found that we were able to best get that effect by using a variety of colors of glowing rain
Next, fill a jar 3/4 of the way with water, and then form a cloud on top of the water using shaving cream
That's it! Grab your pipettes, and the experiment can begin!
Clouds slowly fill with moisture from the air. When they fill with enough moisture they become over-saturated, and it rains. The idea behind this experiment is to visually illustrate that by filling your shaving cream cloud with moisture until the cloud gets so heavy that it rains
Have kids fill their pipettes with the glowing rain colors and then squeeze them into the cloud
It helps to have kids place the pipettes inside the shaving cream cloud each time they go to add more rain. At first you will notice the cloud swelling with the liquid
And once the cloud fills with enough moisture it will begin to rain
Soon enough the rain was swirling and mixing inside the jar, creating the most spectacular rain storm!
Once the cloud got really over-saturated huge amounts of rain came down at once, almost looking like a tornado. Then came the green rain, swirling around the orange.
Jewel said the green looked like thunder. And you know what? If you could see thunder I bet that would be what it would look like!
This storm in a jar experiment was so fun, and the girls learned a lot about weather, rain, and storms by visually making their own storm in a jar.
Books to go along with this activity:
Books About Weather for Young Children
Click the affiliated photos to read a description of each book and take a peek inside. These are all available for purchase on Amazon.
Other activities you may enjoy:
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