DIY rain clouds – one of the best science activities for kids!

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

This is what the colouring coming through will look like – hence the term “rain clouds”. The slower the colouring comes through the more it will blob.

This was by far one of the most fun crafts I have done with Reuben for a long time, and in my opinion is one of the most beneficial science activities for kids ever!! I found the idea on pinterest and instantly ran upstairs to pilfer my husbands shaving kit for shaving foam!

The whole idea behind this activity is to encourage children to explore science, colours and learning in a sensory manner. It is a great opportunity to talk to slightly older preschoolers and kids about the science behind rain clouds and the why, what, when, where of how rain clouds form and rain. For younger children this is a wonderful chance to talk about secondary and tertiary colours and how they are made. Roo was fascinated to what the red “rain”, yellow “rain” and then thought it was awesome that he could make orange “rain” by mixing the two together!

If you give any activity a go on a rainy day, do this one!

Here’s how to make DIY rain clouds, one of the best science activities for kids ever:

  • 1 bottle of Daddy’s shaving foam (must be traditional foam, new age Dads with gel are out of favour here!)
  • a few bowls, or just one depending on what you want to do
  • a couple of different food colourings (if you have the catering gel colouring you can use this just dilute it with water)
  • a syringe or pipet
  • jug for pouring
  • water
DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

The best thing to do is to start by laying everything out. You want some small bowls for your food colouring (which you can water down a bit if you want to stretch it a bit further!), a few bowls for your rain clouds and a pouring jug.

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

I had Reuben fill up the jug from the tap and then pour the water into the bowls of various sizes. This is a practical life skill that he works on at preschool too, and is a great way to build up his motor skills and coordination.

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

Filling up different sized bowls is great for practicing life skills… bit messy though, so do it somewhere you don’t mind getting wet!

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

Filling up different sized bowls is great for practicing life skills… bit messy though, so do it somewhere you don’t mind getting wet!

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

Add the shaving foam to the top of the water. It floats, which is another opportunity for you to get your science on with the kids. Questions like ‘Why does this float?’ are great.

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

Get your child to fill up the syringe with a colour of their choice (we talked a lot about colours during this). Add it to the top of the foam. If you have diluted the colouring then the colour will sink slowly, if not it is heavier and will sink faster.

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

This is another part that gets messy, but it is great fun. I think it’s ideal to mix the colours together and discuss what colours make what. Reuben instantly knew that yellow and red made orange, but he delighted in telling me!

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

If the water gets too discoloured, empty the pots and start again. We did this four times over, and only stopped because we ran out of foam. He loved it.

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

For the most part the water stays clear and picks up colours in streaks – this is a great way to discuss density of liquids.

DIY rain clouds : Science activity for preschool kids, Toby & Roo :: daily inspiration for stylish parents and their kids!

I love this one, we had just about added as much colouring as it could stand and the red was beginning to settle on the top before sinking. It looks so cool!

This is so much fun, and a great activity for such a vast age range. I will admit that I did this when Toby was in bed, partly because he is being absolutely unbearable at the moment (sorry Toby, but you are demonic of late) as he is suffering with his teeth and I think he is growing, but also because he is very young and would most likely just want to put his hands in the water and the food colouring – que smurf baby.

So I would say if you have an older toddler (2.5+) this is wonderful!

Harriet x

17 Comments

  1. Tanika Mathis
    February 17, 2017 / 6:27 pm

    Wow we just finished this activity! My 3 and 4 year olds LOVED IT. Afterwards we cleaned the tables!

  2. Christina M
    January 26, 2017 / 6:37 am

    Did this activity with kids aged 2 1/2-5 and they all loved making it “rain”!. We used eyedroppers and had to show the children how to use them but everybody loved this activity and we will be doing this tomorrow too.??

  3. Nina
    July 29, 2016 / 2:18 am

    I will definitely use this idea for my preschool science activity it looks so much fun! Thanks for the idea i hope my kiddos will enjoy that!

  4. Annie
    July 21, 2016 / 1:14 am

    Do you think my 5 year olds would enjoy?

  5. Heather Austin
    July 4, 2016 / 6:19 am

    i love this activity, going to do it with my pre school children, science week at work is so much fun x

    • Harriet July 5, 2016 / 9:22 am

      Thanks lovely, I hope it goes well for you!

  6. June 6, 2016 / 7:44 am

    Thanks for this post. It sounds awesome and we are going to try. I think my readers may be interested in this activity as well, so I have included your link in my coming blog post. Feel free to stop by and take a look at http://fortunecookiemom.com (It’s a blog about providing learning Chinese materials and resources for young children)
    Thanks,
    Po Tim

    • Harriet June 7, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      Thanks so much Po 🙂

  7. Queency .M
    July 14, 2015 / 12:38 am

    This is an awesome idea I am definitely doing this experiment with my kids.

    • Harriet July 14, 2015 / 10:27 am

      Thank you, I’m so pleased you like it 🙂

  8. June 7, 2014 / 7:09 pm

    This is an amazing idea. We’re going to do this today and make it our very first YouTube video for The Science Kid’s channel. We’re currently redoing our website, so sorry for directing you to an under construction page. This is so cool! Thanks for sharing. I was wondering what we would do today. It’s too hot out today! 🙂

    • Harriet June 8, 2014 / 7:51 pm

      Oh thank you, I’m so pleased you like it – do give it a go! Yes, please do use it on a youtube video, that would be an awesome idea, its great to see how much kids love this and how easy it is 🙂 x

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