Spring has sprung. As the cold, winter days make way for April showers and flowers, take a moment to talk about the changing weather with your children. Weather is a good excuse to introduce some science basics in a down-to-earth way that even the youngest children can understand. Encourage your children to think about the weather in new ways: ask them to predict the weather, to guess the outside temperature, or explain the shapes of different type of clouds. Let your children explore the weather by allowing them to don their raincoats, boots, and umbrella and giving them time to skip through the puddles.  Embrace the season of renewal with the following three fun weather-related crafts and activities for kids of all ages.

Rainmaker Instrument

Shake this easy-to-make instrument and you’ll experience a rainstorm without getting wet.

You’ll need:

  • A cardboard tube
  • Construction paper
  • 2 rubber bands
  • Dried beans and rice

Instructions: Cut out two circles from the construction paper, each large enough to cover the end of the tube with about an inch extra in diameter. Cover one end of the tube with the construction paper and seat it closed with a tightly fitting rubber band. Fill the rainmaker with beans and rice. Secure the other end with the other circle and rubber band. You can shake your rainmaker like a maraca, or slowly tip it up and down to hear the rain.

Rain Gauge

Measure seasonal rainfall with your own rain gauge.

You’ll need:

  • A clear, glass jar
  • A ruler

Instructions: Place the ruler upright in the jar (you may need to use some duct tape to secure it in place).  Set your rain gauge in an open space outdoors. You can measure daily rainfall by checking it and emptying daily or weekly rainfall (though you may need a larger jar, depending on where you live. Head over to the National Center for Education and create a bar, line or pie chart to record your data.

Mix Primary Colors into a Rainbow

Make a rainbow palette from the three primary colors!

You’ll need:

  • Red, blue, yellow, black and white paint
  • Empty egg carton

Instructions:

  • The primary colors are colors that cannot be made by mixing two colors. Fill three of the empty egg spots with red, blue and yellow – the primary colors.
  • Next create secondary colors:  green (mix blue and yellow), orange (mix yellow and red) and violet (red and blue) are the secondary colors.
  • Finally, create the tertiary colors: the six tertiary colors are red-orange, red-violet, yellow-green, yellow-orange, blue-green and blue-violet – mix a primary color with the adjacent secondary color to create each.
  • Each of the twelve empty eggs spot should now be filled with a new color of paint.

On a large sheet of paper, paint your rainbow.