Heat, Rain, Snow, and Sleet: Weather Lessons for Kids

tornado cloud

Weather is a fascinating aspect of science that we can study. Look outside the window and have a look at the weather today.It might be brilliantly sunny, or it might be rainy, hazy, or even just cloudy. There are scientific explanations behind all kinds of weather. Weather is influenced by a couple of main things. The heat from the sun (or lack of it!) along with changes in the water cycle cause changes to the weather. When we have bad weather, it is usually due to precipitation, or substances that fall from the sky to the earth. This includes rain, freezing rain, snow, hail, sleet, and so on. Although all of these look quite different, they are all made up of water. When water changes its state from a gas to a liquid or a solid, we experience different types of weather. This same water also causes clouds, fog, mist, haze, and humidity! Occasionally, the weather can become so severe that it is considered dangerous. We call this type of weather natural disasters. If you have ever experienced a tornado, hurricane, flood, or blizzard, you've seen a natural disaster unfold. Read on to learn all about weather and how it occurs.

Rain and the Water Cycle

  • The Water Cycle - Learn how water moves from the ground to the air.
  • Clouds - Clouds are actually just large masses of water vapor in the sky!
  • Creating a Cloud - Try these experiments to learn how evaporation works.
  • Tracking Water - Follow a single drop of water throughout its entire life cycle.
  • Forms of Rain - Rain can fall in three types: convection, frontal, or relief.
  • Making Rain - Find out how to make rain inside a glass jar!
  • Water in the Sky - Warm temperatures cause water to change its state and evaporate.
  • Water States - This cartoon explains how water changes states to form rain.
  • Water Cycle Puzzle - Complete this maze to follow the cycle of water.

Snow and Other Precipitation

  • How is Snow Formed? - When the temperature is cold enough, water vapour turns into ice crystals.
  • All About Snow - Read about the science of snow and snowflakes.
  • Science of Snow - Do an experiment to learn about the volume of snow compared to that of rain.
  • Snow Characteristics - Certain weather conditions can change the qualities of snow.
  • Preserving Snowflakes - With a few simple tools, you can preserve snowflakes before they melt!
  • Hailstones - Watch a video to learn how hailstones are formed.
  • Sleet - Sleet is formed when raindrops become frozen as they fall.
  • Precipitation - Use an interactive demo to see how temperature at different heights changes precipitation.

Temperature and Humidity

  • Clouds and Humidity - Humidity is directly linked to the types of clouds we see in the sky.
  • Humidity - Humidity is an indication of how much water is in the air.
  • Weather Maker - Watch what happens to the weather when you change the temperature and humidity levels.
  • Wind Chill - High winds can make it feel like the temperature is colder than it really is.
  • Air Pressure - Air pressure can cause differences in the weather and temperature.
  • Temperature - See how different temperatures affect us and the weather.
tornado with lightning

Natural Disasters

  • Tornadoes - A fast-moving column of air can form a deadly tornado.
  • Hurricanes - A hurricane is a very violent storm that can cause a lot of destruction.
  • Lightning - Electrical charges between clouds and the ground cause lightning.
  • Winter Storms - Extreme winter storms can knock out electrical systems and create very dangerous conditions.
  • How Hurricanes Form - Look inside a hurricane to see how it develops.
  • Avalanches - An avalanche occurs when a large amount of snow tumbles downhill, and can be strong enough to cause death.
  • Floods - Extreme rainfall can create a flood and damage agriculture and property.

General Weather Resources

  • Weather versus Climate - What's the difference between weather and climate?
  • The Weather Game - Test your knowledge of weather with this virtual game show.
  • Weather Sayings - Since old times, people have used certain sayings to predict weather.
  • Weather WebQuest - Do some online research on weather to learn how it develops.
  • Types of Weather - Weather Ed introduces the different kinds of weather from wintry to hazy and even dirty weather!
  • Weather Symbols - Learn about symbols that are used in weather forecasting maps.
  • Meteorologists - A meteorologists talks to kids about his job and what he does.
  • Weather Glossary - Find the meanings of difficult weather words.
  • Kids' Weather Station - Explore different kinds of weather in this treehouse weather station!
  • Weather Quiz - Help Weather Dog get to a birthday party on time by answering all of the weather questions correctly.