Here are three ways to invite a child at home or in the classroom to learn and explore about rain.
Invitation to create rain clouds with loose parts. This invitation consists of cutting out clouds from recycled cardboards and providing loose parts in different shades of blue and white (dyed wood bits, flat marbles, buttons). Simply invite the child to create with the loose parts. Since loose parts are dynamic in nature, it brings about authenticity of formulating ideas. The more variables an object offers the more possibilities and creativity the object will have. This is the foundation we want to establish early on in children: to have a higher level of learning and understanding of how things work while honoring their ability to think imaginatively. Loose parts play really breaks away from stereotypical thinking and empowers children to explore in powerful ways.
Invitation to paint textured rain clouds. With those same recycled cardboard cloud cut outs you can invite children to paint by adding texture to the surfaces. Coffee filters, cotton pads, and bubble wrap make for great media to provide an out of the ordinary surface. You can let the child use their fingers, pipettes, droppers, or paintbrushes as their tool along with liquid water colors or tempera paint. Process art has a beautiful way of transforming objects, materials, and techniques. Children who feel able to experiment and to make mistakes feel free to invent new ways of thinking, which extends well beyond the art.
Invitation to explore rain clouds sensory play. This particular experiment teaches children about how rain is formed! When water droplets evaporate and continue to collect in a cloud, they get heavier and heavier. They will eventually become too heavy to float on the air so the water droplets will fall to the ground as rain! The shaving cream represents a cloud and the water is the atmosphere. To set this invitation you will need a clear vase or glass, water, liquid water colors, shaving cream, pipette or dropper. Pour water into the container, shaving cream on top, and then have the child drop water colors on the cloud. The weight of the water colors will push through the shaving cream and fall down through the water that’s in the glass!