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2 minutes reading time (363 words)

Rainy Day Science Fun

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!

Supplies:

  • a small, plastic sandwich-size baggie
  • clear tape
  • a small amount of water


Directions:

  • Let your child put a small amount of water (about ¼ cup) into the bag
  • Zip it shut until it’s sealed
  • Use the clear adhesive tape to attach the sealed bag to a window that gets a fair amount of sun
  • When the rain stops, and the sun is shining again, the sun will warm the water in the bag
  • The heat will cause the water to evaporate, and small drops will form on the inside surface of the bag
  • As the drops grow and get heavier, gravity will cause them to drip down. He’ll then see how it starts to “rain” inside the bag!


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. 

  • Water Goes Round: The Water Cycle, by Robin Koontz
  • All the Water in the Word, by George Ella Lyon,
  • Magic School Bus Series, Wet All Over, by Joanna Cole
  • The Water Cycle, by Helen Frost
  • A Drop of Water, by Gordon Morrison


A simple, hands-on activity like this makes understanding science very real for a young child.

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