Weather Experiments for Kids


Keep track of the wind with the wind wondering experiment.
Keep track of the wind with the wind wondering experiment.
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Rainy or stormy days don't have to be a disappointment for kids. While wet conditions may mean they have to stay indoors, it gives them plenty of time to learn about nature and try weather experiments for kids.

Learning how wild weather works isn't just a great way to help kids learn more about climate conditions: Knowing how thunderstorms, lightning, and high winds work can help make these conditions less scary for kids.

See below for just a few fun and educational weather experiments.

Wind Wondering

Keep track of how the wind blows in your neighborhood with this activity.

Listening to Lightning

How close is lightning striking? Here's a simple way to find out.

When It Rains, It Pours

Just how much rain comes down in a downpour? You'll know soon.

Keep reading for an activity that shows kids the mysteries of the wind.

For more fun activities and other crafts, check out:

Wind Wondering

Investigate wind patterns in this experiment.
Investigate wind patterns in this experiment.
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The wind wondering experiment answers some basic questions: Which way does the wind blow, and how does it change from day to day? Kids will learn to track this data, and draw conclusions from it, in this colorful experiment.

What You'll Need:

  • Crepe paper streamers
  • Tape or stapler
  • Notebook paper
  • Pen or pencil

Carefully staple or tape six crepe paper streamers, each about two feet long, to a tree branch or clothesline.

Any time you see the paper flutter in the wind, take a few notes. Which way is the wind coming from? How long do the papers stay in motion? Write your notes on a piece of paper for at least one week.

At the end of the week, check to see if there are any regular patterns. Does the wind seem to blow mostly from the east? Check the trees and plants growing in your yard. Do they tilt ever so slightly to the east? Could the wind have something to do with the leaning?

Who knows for sure? That's what science is all about -- asking good questions and doing your best to find answers.

Take the scare factor out of thunder and lightning by teaching kids the experiment on the next page!

For more fun activities and other crafts, check out:

Listening to Lightning

Listening to lightning teaches kids how far away that last bolt of lightning struck -- and it can make thunderstorms less scary for them.

What You'll Need:

  • Thunder

First, listen for the distant thunder -- the sound wave that travels from the center of the super-warmed air surrounding the lightning channel as it expands (like ripples in a pond when you drop a pebble in). But sound travels much more slowly than the flash of electric light -- about a million times slower. So when you see a bolt of lightning in the distance, start counting. For every five seconds that pass between the site of lightning and the sound of the thunder, the strike is about one mile away. Ten seconds? Two miles away, and so on.

Kids will discover how meteorologists track rainfall in the experiment on the next page.

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When It Rains, It Pours

Gather information with a simple rain gauge in your own back yard.
Gather information with a simple rain gauge in your own back yard.
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"When it rains, it pours," so the saying goes. This weather experiment teaches kids to gauge just how much rain is pouring down in their neighborhood.

What You'll Need:

  • Plastic measuring cup or rain gauge
  • Notebook
  • Pen or pencil

The next time it looks like rain, place a measuring cup or rain gauge (available at most home and gardening stores) in a clear spot in your yard. Be sure to secure it by anchoring it in the ground or surrounding it with gravel so it doesn't tip over before you gather your information.

Watch the clock and make a note of how many ounces of rain you collect every two hours. Do the same during the next storm -- and the next.

Now compare your figures to calculate whether it pours when it rains, or just gets things a little damp.

For more fun activities and other crafts, check out:

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