Thursday, October 7, 2010

Weather Wheel

One of my kindergartner's favorite daily routine lessons is her weather wheel. Every morning she loves checking outside to see the weather and adjusting her weather wheel accordingly. As the weather changes throughout the day, she loves going over and changing it. (Even if we are out and about and it starts raining, she will announce, "I'd better change my weather wheel when we get home!")
Some days we'll do a craft related to the weather of the day. Just simple things like drawing a sun, cutting raindrops out of blue construction paper, or gluing down cotton balls for clouds. There are lots of fun weather songs you can sing, such as "You are my sunshine" or "It's raining, it's pouring", and here's a fun one for the weather wheel:

Weather Song
(to the tune of "Oh My Darling")
What’s the weather?
What’s the weather?
What’s the weather, everyone?
Is it windy?
Is it cloudy?
Is there rain?
Or is there sun?

Weather Helper, Weather Helper
What's the weather outside?
Go and look out the window,
Tell us what you see outside.
What's the weather?
What's the weather?
What's the weather tell everyone.
Is it windy? Is it cloudy? Is there rain? or is there sun?

Books and sites related to weather we enjoy:

"It Looked Like Split Milk" by Charles Shaw is a great cloudy day book, but don't just leave it to the book--get outside with the kids, lay in the grass, and find your OWN shapes in the clouds! This activity is especially fun when there are cumulus clouds (the big, "fluffy" kind... although you can also use this as an opportunity to teach why clouds appear fluffy from air evaporation!).
The Sesame Street website has a fun Elmo game for toddlers and preschoolers where the kids can make shapes with clouds. (Elmo cloud game)

Speaking of the water cycle, there is an awesome site I found that has free lesson plans and worksheets to learn the process. The Water Cycle
Easy activities to demonstrate the water cycle to kids who typically learn better with hands-on activities are simple things like making and melting ice cubes and watching steam form in the bathroom from the hot shower.

"Come on, Rain!" by Karen Hesse is filled with vivid language imagery and wonderful illustrations. There's a wonderfully narrated video you could watch, too. For a great rain science activity, collect some rain water in a jar and compare it to a jar of tap water. If you pour them each over a coffee filter, you won't believe what comes out of the rain water. Let your kids hypothesize why the rain water is dirty, even the youngest of kids will have insightful answers!

"Thundercakes" by Patricia Polacco, is a wonderful book, where a little girl overcomes her fear of Michigan Thunderstorms with the help of her grandmother. The accompanying website has fantastic follow-up discussion questions and activities directly related to this book. Check it out!!

Windsocks and kite flying are great ways to discuss wind direction and pressure. PBS has a handy Benjamin Franklin make-a-kite site you can use (Kite). And here's a link to a great free episode of Magic School Bus about air pressure: MSB Air Pressure
And another free episode of Magic School Bus about rainbows: MSB Rainbows

You can find a TON of weather related teaching resources for all different ages at the scholastic site! (Scholastic Weather Studies)


  1. Awesome stuff!!! What a wonderful idea with the weather wheel!! Keep the posts coming!!

  2. Thanks, Katie... been trying! ;)