Clouds in jars and on the table top too!

You will love exploring clouds in a jar with your students!

Creating a cloud jar is very new to me so when I saw so many other bloggers sharing the idea, I just had to try it in my class too and it was amazing – absolutely amazing…

Reading about Clouds

Using our Scholastic Kid’s Magazine, we read about cumulus clouds and rainbows in simple terms during our morning circle time. During our discussion we discovered how the cloud fills up with moisture and the moisture then turns into rain and falls to the ground…

Exploring Clouds Through Science and Discovery

Creating a cloud jar was a great way to extend our morning discussion on cumulus clouds…

The Process

We started by covering the entire table with two layers of good quality paper towels. Then each child (threes through – Prek) was given their own mason jar filled 2/3’s with water. In addition, each child shared four cups of colored water (we added food color) with a partner. Every child was also given a dropper to work with…

I had different helpers help me set out the jars and the colored water. Each child was so intrigued by the mason jars that they worked extra hard to be very careful with them.  As we set up the table for our science experiment, we talked about each color of water and what they were going to do…

Once we had all the water and colored water in place, Mrs. Stewart added a “cumulus cloud” (shave cream) on top of the water in each child’s jar…

Making Observations

And then Mrs. Stewart demonstrated how to add drops of color on top of the shave cream then to watch carefully as the color made its way through the “cloud” and then dropped into our clear water down below…

Exploring Independently

Now it was time to let the children explore the process on their own. They were so focused and interested in coloring their clouds and as the colored water started to flow below the cloud, the children would shout out for me to come and see…

Documenting the Process

I could have watched the children explore this process all day and Miss Abby and I took way too many photos along the way!…

The setup required some patience for the kids but once they begin to see it all come together – they were completely absorbed and intrigued by the process…

After adding as much color as they wanted to their jars, the water began to get very dark (but this took some time). So the children wanted to know if they could start all over again. I would have loved to but instead, I invited them to explore the colors on their paper towels…

But most of the children really liked the idea of coloring a cloud instead so, I just added a cloud to the table on top of the paper towels and they colored table top clouds instead..

Expanding on the Experience

As the children were ready to switch from cloud jars to table top clouds, we moved all the cloud jars into the middle of the table…

The children colored their table top clouds or the paper towels as long as they wanted. We did have one spill of some red water but we just added more paper towels on top of the spill and kept on going. The spill didn’t slow us down one bit…

We did this activity at the very end of our day, so once the children left, I simply rinsed out the jars and picked up the top layer of our paper towels to throw away…

What Colorful Creations!

I saved the bottom layer for the children to take home when they dry…

Links to Grow On…

Preschool Cloud Experiment from Reading Confetti

Shapes in the Sky; Clouds in the Jar from Almost Unschoolers

Raining Rainbows and Scientific Exploration from Beansprouts Preschool

Available on Amazon…



By |2019-01-10T16:07:05+00:00March 10th, 2012|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Leeanne A March 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    OK I so have to do this when I get back to school – educational – fun and messy all good things! Oh and did I mention I love shaving cream!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      I love it too!

  2. Kim March 10, 2012 at 7:45 pm - Reply

    What a great idea!!! I’ll have to do this one with my little one. Thanks for the idea!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Kim:)

  3. Jackie March 10, 2012 at 11:00 pm - Reply

    Awesome experiment. I think my grandkids would just love this. I will give it a try later this spring. Thanks for such a great post!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 10, 2012 at 11:03 pm - Reply

      You are welcome Jackie – your grandchildren have one cool grandma:)

  4. Kristin @ Preschool Universe March 11, 2012 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Cool! Doing this tomorrow….I think I might really enjoy this one, too.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      We loved it – I hope you do too!!

  5. Brenna March 11, 2012 at 8:30 am - Reply

    Nice experiment. Definitely going to try this during our water cycle theme week. Thanks.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm - Reply

      Definitely give it a try Brenna!

  6. Lorie March 11, 2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I love how they wanted to make the clouds on the table (and how you let them!) Thanks so much for the link! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      You are very welcome Lorie:)

  7. Pamela Courtney March 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I can’t wait to share this with the teachers whose schools use my literacy program. This is WONDERFUL! I am forwarding this immediately. Thank you for this resourceful post!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 11, 2012 at 11:47 pm - Reply

      I am so glad you will share!

  8. Kristina March 11, 2012 at 9:37 pm - Reply

    This is so cool Deborah!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 11, 2012 at 11:46 pm - Reply

      Isn’t it wonderful?

  9. anna March 13, 2012 at 3:16 am - Reply

    wow! I will try for sure ……shave cream has lots of potentility!
    we used it for painting activities….in here

  10. LaQuetha March 13, 2012 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    We did this activity this morning and the kids in the class loved it. When we walked over to lunch the children told my director all about our fun project.
    Thanks for sharing. It will be something I can add to my list of rainy day projects.

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 13, 2012 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      I am so glad you tried it! My class absolutely loved it!

  11. Hilary March 22, 2012 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I have seen this activity before as a demonstration and was saving it for a rainy day, but I had never even thought of giving each of the kids their own cloud! Good thing I stockpile things like empty jars and shaving cream! Thanks so much….they had a blast! 🙂

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 22, 2012 at 10:20 pm - Reply

      My kids loved doing their own cloud! Isn’t it such a wonderful process? One of my favorites!

  12. Debs March 27, 2012 at 5:56 am - Reply

    This just looks like so much fun! We’ll be trying this soon. Love this photos. Debs 🙂

  13. Becky March 29, 2012 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I loved this! I just did this with my class and even my principal was excited about watching the rain come out of the cloud! Such a great idea!!

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. March 29, 2012 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      I love it Becky! It is so cool that your principle stopped by to watch too!!

  14. Cindy April 24, 2012 at 8:41 am - Reply

    This is terrific. I am planning on doing this at a science demonstration this weekend. I would love to create small handouts for the kids to take home with them. Would you give me permission to reproduce the steps for distribution?

    • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. April 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm - Reply

      Yes, Cindy – that would be just fine!

  15. Janet August 20, 2012 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Me, again, I just have to tell you I look forward every day to getting an email from you, and absolutely love, love, love, learning through you!! Thank you for sharing!! I have done many of your science projects with the kids and they love them all and all I have to do is follow your examples.

  16. […] To read more about this idea, click on Clouds in a Jar! […]

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