Looking for a quick and easy activity for a rainy day? Why not learn about rain? This fun hands-on rain jar project helps kids understand more about rain and the water cycle. Using a few items from around the house kids can make it rain in a jar and learn why rain falls from the sky.
My kids have always been interested in learning about weather. One of their favorite projects was creating their own weather station. They made instruments to measure wind, precipitation, and temperature and then tracked weather using a simple data log.
This activity will take a child’s understanding of weather to the next level by demonstrating how water vapor, air, and condensation create clouds and rain.
Supplies for making rain in a jar:
- Large glass jar
- Small bowl
- Hot water
- Ice cubes
- Ceramic plate
Step 1: Heat the water. Fill the bowl with water and microwave a couple of minutes to heat .(The water doesn’t have to boil.)
Step 2: Pour hot water into the glass jar. About 2 inches of water in the bottom of the jar is enough.
Step 3: Cover the top of the jar with the plate. Let the plate-covered jar sit for about 2 minutes.
Step 4: Place several ice cubes on top of the plate. The ice will make the plate cold. Wait a couple of minutes and you will see rain inside the jar! Water will build up on the inside of the jar and eventually drops of water will fall from the bottom of the plate.
Why does it rain in a jar?
Hot water causes the air in the jar to warm up. The cold plate causes the moisture in the air to condense which means the water vapor in the air changes into liquid water, forming water droplets. This is the same thing that happens in the atmosphere – when warm air in the lower atmosphere meets colder air higher in the atmosphere the water vapor in the air condenses and forms precipitation (rain) that is heavy and falls to the ground.
What’s your family’s favorite weather-related hands-on project?