Before becoming a parent 👪I always thought I’d be a laid-back mom who lets her kids out until eight at night and doesn’t constantly check on them.
The present me would laugh at the woman who even thought that this was possible. Most parents 👪 will agree with me when I say that I want to shield my children from everything. However, that is me doing a disservice to my children, adolescents, and adults.
A good way to prepare our children for the future is by teaching them how to stay safe during storms and other dangerous weather phenomena.
Amazing Storm Activities for Children
It is vital that we teach our kids how to stay protected during unpredictable weather phenomena like thunderstorms, snow storms, and tornadoes🌪️.
In this article, we will discuss how to approach the topic of storms with your children, activities you can take part in to relax them during a storm, and science experiments to explain the science behind storms.
I hope that these activities engage your children 🧒 and help them learn about storms.
What is a storm?
Ask your child to describe a storm and then discover different types of storms. Talk to them if they have ever experienced a tornado 🌪️, hurricane, blizzard, winter storm, or thunderstorm 🌧️.
You can ask your children to describe the different types of storms and also discuss the characteristics of each type, along with the causes of these storms.
There are many amazing articles and video essays that are made for children, which I used during this discussion.
Cloud In a Jar Experiment
To explain storms to our children, we must explain the formation of clouds with the help of the cloud ☁️ in a jar experiment.
What we need-
A glass jar, warm water, a plastic ice pack, matchsticks, a long spoon, and ice cubes.
- Fill a glass jug with at least 2 inches of warm water. Stir the water in the jar with a long spoon until you can see water vapor form on the inside of the jar.
- Light a match stick, blow it out, and quickly drop it in the jar.
- Place the ice pack on top of the jar. You’ll soon notice that a misty cloud ☁️ starts appearing at the tray’s bottom.
Explanation- This is because when the warm water mixes with the smoke particles from the matchstick, it starts to rise to the top of the jar, where it comes into contact with the cold ice tray.
The vapors quickly cool down and develop into droplets, forming clouds. This experiment tries to simulate the natural conditions under which clouds ☁️ are formed in the sky.
Draw Storm Clouds
There is a striking difference between the clouds we see on a normal sunny day and the clouds we see when it is about to rain. Can your child tell the difference?
What you need-
White construction paper, paint, cotton balls, and paintbrush 🖌️.
- Instruct your child to paint the construction paper blue like a clear sky.
- Then, ask them to use the cotton balls and glue to make the clouds. Explain to them that the clouds appear white and fluffy on a clear day, like the cotton on the paper.
- Now, ask them what the clouds and the sky will look like on a rainy day. As they draw, explain to them that the clouds 🌨️ and the sky become dark because as the clouds thicken, they start to block the sunlight, giving it a dark greyish appearance.
Let’s Make Lightning With Balloons Experiment
No storm comes without roaring thunder and lightning ⚡. But did you know that you can make your own lightning at home?
What you need-
A balloon 🎈and a metal spoon.
- Blow a balloon and tie it.
- Rub the balloon 🎈 against your hair, a rug, or a pure wool sweater to create static electricity.
- Turn off the lights in your room and draw the curtains.
- Now, ask someone to bring a spoon gently towards the balloon 🎈and see the magic. You can repeat the exercise as many times as possible.
How To Track a Thunderstorm
Show your kids a real-life example of light traveling faster than sound. This exercise is a great way to occupy your child during a thunderstorm 🌧️.
Use a stopwatch on your phone with a notepad and calculate the time between seeing lightning ⚡ and hearing thunder. Also, write down the intervals between each lightning as it is an indicator of how far the storm is.
Ice Cube Storm Experiment
This summer, my kids noticed that there were many storms and were wondering how they formed. This experiment helped me explain the science behind science experiments to them.
What you need-
A transparent plastic container, room-temperature water, blue and red food coloring, and an ice cube 🧊 tray.
- Mix some water with blue food coloring in a jug and pour it into the ice cube 🧊 tray. Set the tray in the freezer to form ice cubes.
- Now, fill the transparent plastic container with room-temperature water.
- At one end of the container, place the blue ice cubes 🧊, and drop some red food coloring on the opposite end. Wait a few minutes.
- You’ll notice the blue water settling at the bottom, whereas the room-temperature water, dyed red, is moving toward the top.
This experiment recreates the conditions under which a storm takes place. As the air on the ground becomes warm, it is replaced by cooler air.
The warm air rises, cools down, and eventually condenses to form clouds. When this replacement occurs in rapid succession, the clouds grow in size and become large enough to burst, and a storm 🌨️ takes place.
Make Thunder With a Paper Bag
It is super normal for young kids to get scared of thunder 🌩️. Explain to them the phenomenon of thunder with this experiment.
Fill a paper lunch bag with air and close its top with your hand. Now, ask your child to hold the bag with one hand and hit the bag with their free hand.
The bag will most likely burst. This is because when you hit a bag filled with air, the air trapped inside the bag is pushed away from the bag, creating a large bang-like sound.
Similarly, when lightning⚡strikes the ground, it heats the air and causes it to expand, producing energetic waves of air, which leads to thunder.
Plastic Bottle Bowling Game
Last year, my children and I were stuck inside the home for two days because of a winter storm. To ward off boredom, we developed many games, which became our favorite.
What you need-
Empty plastic bottles and a ball (preferably foam or rubber)
Place ten bottles in a triangle at the end of a narrow hallway. Take turns with your kids to roll the ball 🎳.
Keep score after every turn. You can also make up your rules, like kicking the ball instead of rolling it or throwing it.
A barometer is a tool used to measure atmospheric pressure and for forecasting weather. Help your child make their very own barometer with household items.
What you need-
Tape, pens 🖊️, elastic band, balloon, paper, drinking straw, pair of scissors, and glass jar.
- Cut the neck of the balloon with a pair of scissors ✂️.
- Stretch the balloon over the neck of the jar.
- Secure the balloon with an elastic band.
- Cut the plastic straw at an angle so that it has a pointed end.
- Use tape to secure the straw to the middle of the balloon 🎈 lid. The pointed end of the straw should face outwards.
- Fold an A4-sized construction sheet in half. Draw a sun on the top of the sheet and rain at the bottom.
- Prop the sheet vertically and place the jar next to it so that the pointed end of the straw points at the sheet.
Ask your child to notice if the straw moves over a few months. The straw should move up and down. This happens because the air pressure outside of the jar is either greater than or less than the pressure inside the jar.
Look Who’s Helping?
Firefighters 🧑🚒, police officers, and power company workers have to work around the clock to ensure that people remain safe during a storm and help is provided when needed.
Help your children identify these workers on television and in real life after a storm. You can also give them a token of appreciation for all their hard work after the storm.
Build a Fort
Building a fort 🏰 is not just great for your child’s imagination, but it also keeps them busy during a storm. My kids stayed inside their pillow fort throughout the storm with our dog (who was also very scared).
Meringue Storm Clouds
Storms can be long and boring. Occupy your child by asking them to make you this dessert.
What you need-
Coarse sugar, teaspoon salt, black food coloring, large eggs 🥚, tartar, and confectioners’ sugar.
- Place the racks in the upper and the second last rack of the oven and set the oven at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a large, clean mixing bowl, whisk four egg 🥚whites, half a teaspoon of cream of tartar, and a quarter of a teaspoon of salt. Whisk with an electric whisk on high speed until the egg whites are foamy, thick, and opaque.
- Then, slowly start adding two and a quarter cups of confectioners’ sugar, a quarter of a cup at a time. Continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Add a few drops of black food coloring to form a grey color.
- Line 2 baking sheet with parchment paper and scoop the meringue into small mounds. Sprinkle the top with coarse sugar and put in the oven. Bake for four to five hours or until the meringue develops a dry and crisp shell.
You can eat the meringue with whipped cream and fresh fruit 🥭.
Educate Your Child On Different Types of Storm Clouds
One will notice many different types of clouds during a storm. For instance, cumulonimbus clouds are commonly seen during strong to severe storms.
You can also observe the formation of shelf clouds on the boundary of a collapsing thunderstorm 🌧️. They are indicative of strong winds. It is best to show your children videos to better understand cloud formation.
How to stay safe during a storm?
All types of storms can become dangerous at the drop of a hat, and you might not be with your children when this happens.
Therefore, it is important to educate your children from a young age on how to stay safe, where to seek shelter, and how to stay informed during a storm.
For instance, since my family lives in a city where tornadoes 🌪️ are prevalent, I have taught my children to go to the basement and stand away from the windows as soon as they hear the tornado 🌪️ warning.
I have also taught them that when they are in a building without a basement, they should go to the lowest floor level and seek shelter in a bathroom or small room with no heavy objects.
During a thunderstorm 🌧️ help your children stay informed by watching the local news. Explain the severity of the storm and reassure them that staying inside the house or any building is the best way to stay safe.
If there is a possibility of hail or strong winds during the storm, make your children watch a video beforehand so they don’t get scared of the noises.
Reassure Your Children During a Thunderstorm
It is common for kids to be scared of storms and thunder ⛈️.
Alleviate the stress caused to your children during a storm by listening carefully to their queries, reassure them that everything will be okay by explaining the phenomenon of storms to them, and distract them with a good movie or book.
You can also show them how to stay safe during a storm and create a plan to make them feel safe.
My daughter has an overactive imagination and gets easily scared by the high wind noises, so I like to reassure her by engaging her in different activities, like putting a flashlight 🔦 next to her bed in case the light goes off or filling the bathtub with water in case the water supply is cut off.
Stimulate a Thunderstorm with Dish Soap
Show your children how they can stimulate a thunderstorm 🌧️ with things they can find around the house.
What you need-
A large plastic bowl, balloon, water, and dish soap.
- Fill the plastic bowl with water.
- Mix well with a few drops of dish soap 🧼to the water.
- Fill a balloon with air. Rub the balloon on your head or against a woolen rug to create static electricity.
- Carefully hold the balloon above the bowl of water. As you bring the balloon 🎈closer to the water, you can hear crackling, that is the sound of thunder.
Help Others Stay Safe Before The Storm
When I was in college, my mom used to make me stay with my grandma whenever there was a storm. I would also stock up her fridge and pantry with all of the essentials before the storm.
Just like my mom, I also encourage my children to help our elderly 🧑🦳 neighbors stock up on essential items before a storm and check up on them during and after the storm to make sure that they are okay.
Host a Movie Marathon
A storm is the perfect time to host a movie 🎬 marathon for your kids. After taking all the necessary precautions to keep ourselves safe during a storm, I showed my kids Toy Story 1 and 2.
While they were mildly unsettled by the plot, they thoroughly enjoyed the two movies.
Charge your laptop in case of a power shortage.
Keep Busy During a Storm With A 500 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle
My daughter gets uncomfortable during a storm. Recently, my son suggested that we should complete a jigsaw 🧩 puzzle (my daughter is very fond of jigsaw puzzles) to keep her mind off the commotion.
It truly worked, and we had a lot of fun. You can also play a long board game with your child, especially when there is no electricity.
My son is currently in elementary school, and his favorite subject is science. So, he loves it when I make him take part in science experiments 🧪during his summer break.
Not only did he enjoy making thunderstorms, but he was also amazed at learning about the different types of storms and how to identify them.
Whether your child is interested in the science behind storms or you want to educate them on how to stay safe during storms 🌧️, the above-mentioned list of activities has you covered.
In the comments below, let us know whether the strategies mentioned in the article were useful.
I’m a former teacher with a background in child development and a passion for creating engaging and educational activities for children. I strongly understand child development and know how to create activities to help children learn and grow. Spare time, I enjoy spending time with my family, reading, and volunteering in my community.