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Science for Preschoolers – Clouds

It’s autumn, and for the past few weeks we had some clouds in the sky, which is rare for sunny San Diego. This inspired me to teach the kids about clouds and the water cycle. The first activity, demonstrates how cumulus clouds get heavy with water and produce rain. It is simple but fun: a shaving cream “cloud” floats on a cup of water, representing cumulus cloud. The kid drizzle food coloring on top of the cloud and watch how it rains into the water “atmosphere”.

For the second activity I couldn’t resist making Ivory soap clouds in the microwave. Heating ivory soap in the microwave results in the bubbling of the soap bar into a cloud of soap with fluffy appearance of a cumulus cloud. However, the soap cloud is very flaky and not soft at all. The reason for that is that during production the Ivory soap is whipped with air, which enables it to float on water (unlike other soap bars that sink into the water).

I prepared soap clouds from eight bars for this activity. Since the soap cloud maintains its shape I could make them a day in advance. The soap clouds smell really nice and are very pleasant to touch.

The kids had fun crumbling the soap clouds into small flakes that resembled snow flakes. This was a lot of very messy fun. After combining all the flakes into one bowl, I added water and a few drops of blue food coloring and kneaded it into a soft smooth paste. The kids placed the soap paste into cookie molds to make their own bar of soap. After removing from the cookie mold, the soap bars need to air-dry for a couple of days to harden.

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