Wednesday, March 21, 2012

"Cloudy, Cloudy Day"
Cloud Categorizer

I found a really cool cloud identification "weather window" on  Being the frugal lady that I am, instead of buying this handy-dandy hand-held devise of wonder...we made our own Cloud Categorizer.  (Thanks to for the great cloud photos!)

Make your own Cloud Categorizer:
We used the cardboard from a cereal box.  Print the cloud photos from the PDF below and cut out the rectangles.  Make sure you cut out the center rectangle.  Now tape or glue the cloud photo rectangle to the cardboard.  Cut around the photos (and be sure to cut out the center rectangle).   Tape a handle (one or two tongue depresors, plastic spoons...) onto the bottom of your cardboard frame. 

Or you can cut out your own cardboard frame and find pictures in magazines, or print pictures from online to identify the various cloud types.  Cut out the pictures and tape them to your cardboard frame. 
Peek through your window to see the clouds in the sky.  Do the clouds in the sky outside look like some of the clouds on your Cloud Categorizer?
Explain to your child how clouds are formed.  Water vapor condenses into the liquid (water) or solid (ice) form.  Little tiny water droplets are formed when the vapor condenses around a tiny dust particle in the air.  A cloud is a collection of MANY tiny droplets in the air. 
There are basically three types of clouds:
1. Cirrus ("curl"): thin wispy and white. They are located high in the sky and are almost entirely made up of ice particles. These types of clouds often are seen before rain or snow.
2. Cumulus ("heap"): white, fluffy and round. They are seen on nice days.
3. Stratus ("layer"): low hanging clouds that are in layers that look like a gray blanket. They look like haze in the sky. These types of clouds can become fog if they get low enough in the air. 

The word Nimbus means "rain", so: 
Nimbostratus: dark clouds that normally are seen when rain or snow is happening all day long.
Cumulonimbus: tall vertical clouds. Often called thunderheads. They usually produce lightening and storms. (
Keep your Cloud Categorizer handy to predict the weather!  Check out how the clouds on your Cloud Categorizer can tell you what type of weather lies ahead:
Happy Cloud Watching...
Oooh, I think I see a cloud that looks like an elephant!


Jaimi said...

What a great tool. I can see my son grabbing it and just laying in the backyard to investigate the clouds! In fact, I think I may want to use it too. Better make two! Great idea.

SMMART ideas said...

Hi Jaimi, Thanks for your comment! I love this idea too! Like I said in my post, when I saw this being sold online for way too much $, I knew I had to make one for our kiddos. Thanks to weatherwizkids for lettimg me use her photos from her site. This is one of those resources that I don't throw away, but actually keep around. Might be a great thing to keep in the car too.

3chickapens said...

what a great idea, my daughter was making clouds in the bathtub with your "shaving cream idea" I was asking her if she knew the names of the clouds. Well now we can learn them!

Marie S. said...

It says that scrib has archived this so I can not access it. :(

Ticia said...

What a great idea, at some point I need to break down and put in a weather category on my pinterest boards.

Thanks for linking up to Science Sunday

Beth said...

Thanks for sharing!!! Saw the one on pinterest, too, and when I clicked I could not believe the cost! Thanks for sharing yours! It is awesome!!!!

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing! Is there a way to print it out without paying any money? I'd love to do this for my daughter and her friends.


SMMART ideas said...

Hi! If you can't pull this off my site, then email me at and I'll send it over to you!


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