Have you ever asked your kids how clouds are formed? Dependent on age, the answers can be pretty funny. Maybe a unicorn got a haircut in heaven or possibly they’ll get close to the truth. But how great would it be to show them on a level that they can touch and see? A while back we made a cloud in a jar for our homeschool science lesson which turned out to be an easy STEM activity for kids of all ages – husbands included.
It’s a simple science lesson that left my kids dancing for joy. Plus the great news is that once you have all the supplies together, you can make it over and over again. By the 5th time to make a cloud in a jar within 30 minutes, I was a pro.
You probably have everything that you need to make a cloud in a jar.
You’ll need a mason jar, matches, boiling water that will fill the jar and a sandwich sized bag of ice. The water must be boiling or very warm. Do not let kids handle the water or matches. We let the kids participate by helping to gather the items and then doing the last few steps.
Fill the jar a little more than 3/4th’s of the way full with boiling water and let it sit for about a minute.
The water will help warm the jar to create the correct atmosphere conditions to form the cloud.
Pout the water almost all the way out leaving a little less than 1/4th of the water in the jar.
Light the match and hold it in the mouth of the jar for a few seconds and then drop it down into the water. Immediately place the bag of ice on top of the jar and watch closely.
Within seconds you’ll see the simulated cloud swirling and forming within the jar.
It will get denser and whiter as you watch.
Watching it swirl and move is fun and shows you how clouds probably move in the sky.
The cloud will last less than a minute before it slowly starts to dissipate. The first time we watched it dissolve. Then we did it again and realized that we could release the cloud into the sky, which made the kids more than happy.
To redo it just heat up more water and start all over again. Eventually, I just microwaved a huge bowl of water and we did it again and again until we were satisfied.
You can take this easy STEM activity/experiment a little bit further by:
- Using different temperatures of hot water and documenting how much cloud forms at different temperatures.
- Measuring the water levels in the jar before and after the cloud forms.
- Add a few drops of food coloring into the hot water to see if the cloud will pick up the color or will it be too heavy?