We are feeling in a lazy, summer mood this week, so we’re going to do some cloud watching. Grab a blanket, find a quiet place in the shade outside and look up at the clouds.


The weather has been in the news a lot lately. With practice, you can tell something about what the weather is going to do by checking the clouds. Most of us recognize there are different types of clouds, some puffy, some wispy and some that seem to cover the sky in an endless blanket. If you and your children get interested in learning the types, there are many good books with pictures and even cloud chart posters available to help you learn their names.

Are any of the clouds darker than others? Those probably contain a lot of water. Puffy clouds that begin to tower up, raising high into the sky might indicate a thunderstorm is building. Drab gray clouds that cover the sky suggest a gentle rain that is going to settle in all day.

If your child is ready, you can discuss what a cloud is made of and how the water cycle works. Ask them how they think rain forms. We once made simple stick puppets of a mountain stream, an ocean, trees and water with wavy lines representing evaporation, clouds, and funny rain drops with cat and dog faces on them (“raining cats and dogs”). Then we did stories incorporating ideas of the water cycle, but in a way that was gently humorous, such as the rain drops didn’t want to leave the clouds, and the clouds had to shake them out. We still have the puppets, and do the show every once in awhile. Repetition is good for learning, and the children don’t even know they are learning when something is fun.

What are clouds made of? Clouds are made up of more than water. In addition to bits of dust, micro-critters such as bacteria, fungi and algae get caught up in clouds.

But hey, it’s a lazy summer day, so don’t work too hard. Hum, that cloud looks just like a mattress, and mattresses are for sleeping. ZZZZZZZ….