Weather for Kids: The Best Way to Teach Meteorology
It seems kids have always been fascinated with the weather—from looking at clouds to splashing in rain puddles. How can you harness that natural curiosity and teach weather for kids in a way they can understand?
Here are some of our favorite resources, activities, and ideas for teaching your kids about the weather!
Keep a Weather Journal
Watch the following video with your kids about how to be a weather watcher. By keeping a weather journal, they'll start noticing weather patterns and learn about the weather conditions that are most common where they live.
Have Your Head in the Clouds
Kids can draw the different kinds of clouds they see in their weather journals, or they can make a poster showing them. Encourage your children to have fun with the project by getting out cotton balls and paints to give their pictures a 3-D effect. Check out this video all about the types of clouds.
Build a Weather Station
Meteorologists rely on what they know about the weather, what the weather has done in the past, and a variety of special instruments that show them what's going on right now to study the weather and try to predict what it will do next. You can build your own "special instruments" with a few household items and make your own forecasts.
Learn how to build a weather station at Sciencing: Easy Homemade Weather Instruments for Kids.
Go on a Field Trip
Often local news stations are happy to give students a tour, and some will even let them sit in on a newscast. Ask if one of the meteorologists can talk to your kids about what it's like to be a meteorologist, or if they're willing to do a presentation for a group of homeschoolers.
See if one of the regional National Weather Service offices near you gives tours.
There are a lot of online resources for learning about the weather, but these are our favorites. JetSteam school is best for older elementary and middle school students.
Weather Wiz Kids®. Designed by a meteorologist, this resource is made specifically for kids. You’ll even find weather related jokes on the site.
DKFindout!—Weather. Beautiful pictures and illustrations bring weather concepts to life.
JetStream School—An Online School for Weather. This site was created by the National Weather Service and teaches about a variety of weather topics as well as safety tips.
Explore Extreme Weather
From blizzards to tornados to hurricanes, extreme weather captures the attention of kids and adults alike.
Find out how to tell if weather is severe or normal by watching this video with your kids:
Snow can be a lot of fun for kids, but you've heard the saying "too much of a good thing." Learn why here:
Blizzards have blowing winds in excess of 35 miles per hour, but that's just a breeze compared to tornados. Discover what a tornado is and how there are formed:
We love unit studies! Your kids can learn about tornados with UnitStudy.com's Twisting Tornados (which is currently 30% off). In it they'll explore the following questions:
- Quest 1: What Is a Tornado?
- Quest 2: Where in the World Are Tornadoes Formed?
- Quest 3: How Tornadoes Form and Tornado Myths
- Quest 4: Science Secrets of Tornadoes
- Quest 5: Tornado Experiments and Tornado Safety
Unlike tornados, people often have more advanced warnings about hurricanes. But these huge storms leave a path of destruction for hundreds of miles. Find out more by watching this video:
The Sky's the Limit
We believe the best way to teach about the weather is to make learning discovery based. By keeping a weather journal, building a weather station, and tracking the weather, your children will have those "aha" moments as they figure something out for themselves. Then videos and other online resources can help them put it all together.
The saying "the sky's the limit" is true when it comes to the many resources available to teach your kids about the weather. With a mixture of online resources, hands-on activities, and simple observation, your kids can learn about the weather in a fun and memorable way.