JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Here’s a simple weather-related science experiment your kids might like, it helps them see how raindrops form and fall from clouds. Not to get too technical here, because I certainly could, but this experiment shows how raindrops form through collision-coalescence, there are other ways raindrops form, but this way is simplest for kids to understand.
To start, you’ll need a clear glass jar or drinking glass, shaving cream ( the white foamy kind) and blue food coloring (color doesn’t matter if you are short on supplies.)
There’s a great, detailed break down of this experiment complete with pictures here, by Mrs. Jones Creation Station.
First fill the glass or jar with water, about 3/4 full. This represents the atmosphere between the bottom of the clouds and the ground.
Next cover the top of the water with shaving cream- these are our clouds. Cover the entire surface of the water and almost fill up the jar or glass the rest of the way.
Next, the kids can add one or two drops of food coloring onto the shaving cream. Talk to your kids about the blue food coloring being tiny drops of water moving around inside the cloud. The drops of water inside clouds are all different shapes and sizes, so they move at different speeds. This causes them to collide and form larger particles of water inside the cloud. Have your kids drop another drop of food coloring onto the drops they already added.
See how may drops it takes until the raindrop they are making becomes so heavy the cloud can’t hold it anymore. It then drops to the “ground” in the form of rain.
Different clouds have different levels of energy and movement inside the cloud. The stronger the cloud, the longer it can hold the raindrop, and the bigger the raindrop will be when it does finally succumb to gravity and fall out of the cloud.
Need another weather-related science experiment for kids? Click here for making frost with a can...