Weather Worries

From the crash of thunder to the gentle, pitter-patter of raindrops, the weather is a fascinating and ever-changing scientific wonder. Learning about the many types of weather can be an educational and empowering experience for our children. We can teach them the many patterns in which weather takes, and how to not be afraid of the natural wonders of our world, but instead be in awe of them. 

Build Curiosity

Introducing our kiddos to weather sparks their curiosity about the natural world. Encouraging them to observe, ask questions, and find answers inspires scientific thinking and problem-solving skills. This early curiosity can lay the foundation for future interests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

Here are some effective ways to help your child build curiosity about the weather:

  1. Encourage Outdoor Exploration

Take your child outside to experience the weather firsthand. Whether it’s a bright, sunny day, or an overcast, cloud-filled day. Encourage your child to ask questions about the weather. “Why is it hot?” “Where do clouds come from?” “Why does it rain?” Outdoor exploration provides endless opportunities for your child to observe and embrace the weather. 

  1. Ask Thought-Provoking Questions

While your child probably has an endless list of questions about the weather, from cloud formation to the sound of thunder, you can encourage their curiosity by asking your own questions. For example, “Why do you think the sky is blue?” or “What do you notice about the clouds today?” Encourage your child to share their thoughts, fostering a sense of wonder and inquiry. 

  1. Explore Weather Phenomena

Introduce your child to a variety of weather phenomena, from rainbows and thunderstorms to snowflakes and hurricanes. Use books, online videos, and other resources to explore these topics in an engaging and age-appropriate way. 

Discuss Weather Awareness

Weather comes in many forms. Regions in the Midwest may experience blizzards in the winter, while East Coast counterparts may experience subtropical temperatures or even a minor freeze warning. Likewise, tumultuous spring temperatures bring on spinning tornadoes, and the summer yields a path for hurricanes to develop. While inclement weather can be startling, our job as parents is to educate our children on the science behind weather and prepare them for each scenario. Engaging our children in conversations about weather safety can equip them with the knowledge to navigate certain weather conditions safely. 

  1. Initiate Conversations

Begin by initiating a casual conversation about the current weather outside. How does this weather make your child feel? Encourage them to express their observations and feelings about different weather patterns. 

  1. Teach Weather Vocabulary

Introduce age-appropriate weather vocabulary to extend your child’s understanding. Use words like “humidity,” “temperature,” “wind speed,” and “precipitation” in simple terms. Use everyday examples to help them grasp these concepts easily.

  1. Discuss Weather Safety

Emphasize the importance of weather awareness and safety when talking to your child about inclement weather. Talk to your child about how to stay safe during extreme weather events, such as thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. Teach them to seek shelter during storms, dress appropriately for the weather, and turn to local weather forecasts to navigate uncertain weather conditions. 

  1. Monitor Weather Forecasts

Involve your child in monitoring weather forecasts and updates. Show them how to check the weather forecast on television, websites, or mobile apps. Teach them that weather forecasts can help them dress appropriately for the weather, learn about local weather, and help them stay informed about weather hazards.

  1. Use Hands-On Learning 

A great way to teach your child about the weather is through hands-on activities that demonstrate weather concepts. For example, they can create a tornado in a jar by swirling water and dish soap, or make a cloud in a jar using hot water and ice. 

These hands-on activities help children understand the science behind the weather while sparking joy and curiosity. 

Here are a few other activities to try:

  1. Weather Vocabulary Game

Play a game where your child comes up with weather scenarios using weather vocabulary cards. If you want to add another level of fun to this game, have your child make a sentence about the weather using the vocabulary cards.

  1. Weather Log

Kids can track the weather by recording daily weather patterns in a weather log. They can track the temperature, wind speed, and precipitation and see how it changes over time. 

  1. Cloud Spotting

Take a nice afternoon outside to lay in the grass with your child and spot clouds. During this time, you can point out funny shapes you both see, and also teach your child about the types of clouds that form.

By discussing weather awareness with your child in an engaging and informative manner, you not only empower them with valuable knowledge but also foster a lifelong appreciation for the wonders of the weather. 

This article was originally published in May 2024.

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