Oh no! It’s finally summer vacation, and the weather forecast is calling for rain all day. But don’t let a rainy summer day spoil any fun. Use it as an opportunity to talk about and examine the wonderful natural process of rain.
Start this science dialogue by asking your child “What do you think causes rain?” Then do a simple experiment that I’ve done with 1st grade classes over the years. Help your child create indoor rain!
Children get really excited by this experiment. It’s a perfect opportunity to segue into what happens in nature, and explain about the water cycle.
Just like the water in the bag, the sun heats up oceans, rivers, lakes, ponds and even puddles. The water evaporates and collects in the atmosphere as moisture particles grow into clouds. When the clouds get too full, the drops become heavy and fall back to the earth, creating rain. Then when the sun comes out, the process starts all over again.
Here are five books with great pictures and vocabulary that help youngsters understand the water cycle. Most should be available from your local library.
A simple, hands-on activity like this makes understanding science very real for a young child.