07/01/2013 | 05:49 PM 

kids070113July’s bright blue skies and puffy clouds make this the perfect month to spread out an old blanket, lie on your backs, and do some sky-gazing with your little ones! Cloud gazing in your backyard is a fun and easy outdoor activities that can bring you and your grandchildren closer to nature – and to each other!

Talk about the different types of clouds, for example:

  • Cirrus, the thin, wispy, curly-shaped clouds (they only form above 18,000 feet!)
  • Cumulus types that are puffy clouds (these guys like to hang out below 6,000 feet!)  

Chat with your little one about what shapes you can see in the clouds – does it look like a snake, a dragon, cement mixer?  What else do you see? Are the clouds moving in the sky?

A wonderful book to complement this imaginative activity is It Looked Like Split Milk, by Charles G. Shaw. This classic picture book features white shapes silhouetted against a blue background on every page.

After your session of cloud gazing, head into the kitchen for a fun and easy weather experiment.

Homemade Clouds

You need:

  • Water
  • Microwave or stovetop
  • Wide-mouth glass jar (clean spaghetti sauce or pickle jars are great)
  • Square of light-weight cloth (an old cotton hankerchief is perfect)
  • Thick rubber band
  • Crushed ice
  • Heat water in the microwave or on the stove top until almost boiling (adults should handle this step).
  • pour hot water into a glass bottle.
  • When the glass surface of the bottle becomes warm to your touch, pour out all but 1 inch of the water.
  • Stretch a thin piece of cloth over the mouth of the bottle and fasten it with a rubber band.
  • Place crushed ice on top of the cloth.

You and your young scientist can now observe the cloud that forms as the warm air meets the cold, just like the clouds up in the sky!

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