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Create rain clouds at home with this experiment

Posted at 3:58 PM, May 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 13:49:50-04

WISCONSIN — This science and weather experiment is a fun, hands on way to create clouds and rain at home.

Here's what you'll need for the experiment:

  • A see-through container, glass or plastic, filled most of the way with water
  • Shaving cream, the foam type
  • Food coloring, any color
  • Paper towels in case of spills

In this experiment, the water is going to represent the atmosphere, the shaving cream is going to represent clouds, and the food coloring will represent precipitation.

First, shake up your shaving cream and squirt a thin layer on top of the water. This is a good point to stop and talk about different cloud types. A thin layer of clouds could represent a stratus cloud, but by adding a little bit more shaving cream, it might start to look more like a cumulus cloud, or even a cumulonimbus cloud.

Now, start to add a little bit of food coloring. A small amount of food coloring will hold in the shaving cream. This would be representative of rain droplets within the clouds, but there is no rain making it through the atmosphere and to the ground, like a cloud you see in the sky that doesn't produce rain.

But if you continue to add more food coloring, and give it a little time to soak through, you will start to see it raining. This is a good representation of a saturated cloud layer, or a cloud that produces rain. This is a neat way to talk about different clouds and cloud types, and how precipitation works.

Also, have fun with different shades of food coloring, maybe one color for rain, another for snow, another for hail.

Let Kristen know if you try this experiment! Find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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