Friday, December 21, 2012

Clouds in a Jar

Today the Beans cranked out a 3 hour nap, so Busy and I had a lot of time on our hands to do some super fun science experiments and other activities!

So, yesterday it was rainy and windy. While we were driving home from school Busy was looking out the window and watching the rain drops run down it. She asked "How does the rain come from the sky?" I responded that the clouds fill with water and that when they get too full, the water falls out of the clouds, making rain. She accepted that answer and went back to watching the rain. Well, this morning there was a little bit of snow on the ground (although the excitement in her voice and on her face would have led you to think she had seen 3 feet). She tasted some, kicked some and even tried to make a teeny tiny snowman. When Beansie went down for his nap I thought I would take advantage of the opportunity to do an experiment that tied into our conversation the day before about rain and clouds, then expand a little to include snow.

I ALWAYS have shaving cream in our art closet!!! It is a staple simply because Busy could be having the worst day ever (whether it be sadness, madness, or a crazy case of the 3's) and all I have to do is grab the bottle of shaving cream, take her hand, and lead her to the table. With the first squirt of shaving cream, all is right with the world again. I am not exaggerating. It's magic.

Anyway, I got the idea for this experiment from another blog called Teach Preschool.
What you need:
a clear glass jar
shaving cream
food coloring
2 drinking straws (or medicine droppers)
paper towels

*Note: The first time we did the experiment it did not go as planned at all, so I did some tweaking. These are some things to keep in mind. 1) Add 4 or 5 drops of food coloring to a small amount of water. I didn't add enough the first time. 2) Don't add a mountain of shaving cream to the jar! You only need enough to cover the surface of the water.

Set everything up
Too much shaving cream!
The right amount of shaving cream. 
Using the straw or dropper, start dropping small amounts of colored water on top of the shaving cream.
Explain that as the clouds fill with water the water gets heavier and heavier until it falls out as rain.
The "rain" will start to fall when the shaving
cream can't hold it anymore.
Then the other colors start to fall as well.

She loved that she made it rain in a jar :)
We then discussed that when it got cold enough, the water in the
clouds would fall as snow instead of rain. (and sleet or hail)
When she had seen enough, she took out the shaving cream with
her hands and placed it on a paper towel....
....and played in it for a while.

Then we added some remaining colored water to her hands....

....and a paper towel.
I made a colored shaving cream hand print and we hung our masterpieces in the kitchen window.

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