This is a simple and easy science experiment for kids that teaches them the science behind why it rains. Here is How to Make it Rain in a Jar.
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The best part about this fun and easy experiment is that it only takes a few simple supplies that you likely already have at home!
How to Make it Rain in a Jar
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- Fill container with water
- Add shaving cream
- Add food coloring
- Patiently wait for it to rain
Step 1: Add water to container
We used a 1 quart wide-mouth mason jar for our container, but you can use any glass or plastic clear container for this.
You will want to fill the container almost all the way full (about an inch from the top).
**You can use warm or cold water for a slightly different effect.
Watch this video to see the difference between using warm and cold water.
Step 2: Fill the top of the container with shaving cream
Grab your can of shaving cream and shake it for a few seconds before spraying it into the top of your container.
Go ahead and spray the shaving clean into the remaining top inch of the container.
It’s okay to let your cloud of shaving cream grow big enough to rise up over the brim of the container a little bit.
You have just created fluffy and white (cumulus cloud) with your shaving cream.
Step 3: Add the rain (food coloring) to the cloud
This is the fun part! Now you get to see your cloud in action as you slowly add a few drops of blue food coloring to the top of your cloud.
Remember to only add a few drops first and watch as the blue starts to work its way through the shaving cream cloud.
You can add a little more food coloring if you want to speed the process up a little bit to create more of a downpour than a light sprinkle.
Step 4: Wait for it to rain
Depending on how much food coloring you added to your cloud in step 3 will determine how quickly your rainstorm develops.
Keep a close eye on the blue food coloring slowly working its way down through the cloud.
Eventually blue water droplets (food coloring) will make it to the bottom of the cloud and become heavy enough to fall out of the cloud.
The result is a rainstorm in a bottle as the blue raindrops fall through the clear water in the container.
Variation: Warm vs cold water
This is the part where you can try the experiment again with different temperatures of the water.
What do you see!!!?
The warm water is less dense than the cold water and tends to allow the blue food coloring to disperse into the clear water easier.
Because the cold water is more dense, the relatively warmer raindrops tend to stick together more and not change the color of the water as quickly.
What is the science behind making it rain in the jar?
What started as a big white fluffy cloud on the top of your jar started to become saturated with water droplets (blue food coloring).
As the cloud began to get heavier with more and more moisture, the bigger water droplets dropped to the bottom of the cloud and fell out of the cloud.
This is the same process that creates rain in the wonderful world of weather!!
How do clouds form?
Clouds in the sky form as warm, moist air from the surface of the earth rises up into the sky.
This source of moisture often comes from water evaporating from lakes, oceans, and rivers on hot summer days.
Because warmer air rises, it will continue to rise as long as it is warmer than the surrounding air.
As the air continues to rise, it eventually cools down and the water vapor in the air condenses into a cloud.
What are clouds?
Clouds are made up of tiny little water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the sky.
What causes it to rain?
The little water droplets that form a cloud continue to grow bigger inside the cloud until they are too heavy to stay in the cloud any longer.
Once they get too heavy, the earth’s gravity pulls these water droplets out of the cloud and they fall to the ground as raindrops.
Where do clouds form in the atmosphere?
Depending on the type of cloud, they can reach heights between 10,000 to 60,000 feet high in the sky!!!
That’s anywhere between 2 miles and almost 12 miles up in the sky!!!
How do clouds float?
The water contained in clouds can weigh thousands of pounds, but somehow they appear to float in the sky!
This is because the individual water droplets or ice crystals that make a cloud are so small that they stay suspended in the air.
These particles stay suspended, or floating in the air due to warmer air rising up through the cloud.
Do clouds always lead to rain?
Not all clouds mean that rain is coming.
But, all clouds are formed by water vapor cooling, condensing, and forming water droplets.
When those water droplets get bigger and heavier they fall out of the cloud as rain. Sometimes they stay so small that they don’t fall out of the cloud.
Can it rain without clouds?
Although it is a rare occurrence, it can rain when there are no clouds directly overhead.
This usually happens when strong winds in the upper atmosphere can blow rain from a storm miles away to an area where the sun is shining.
These events are referred to as “sun showers” since the sun is shining while the rain is coming down.
So yes, it can rain without clouds over your head, but that rain is still coming from a cloud (moisture source) somewhere in the distance.
The science behind the color of clouds:
Why are clouds dark?
True or false: When you see dark, black clouds coming in the distance it means rain is coming.
This is true because the clouds that contain a lot of moisture in the them are taller and thicker, making then appear darker.
This blocks the sun from showing through and gives the cloud a much darker appearance.
Why are clouds white?
White, or grey clouds typically don’t hold as many water droplets and because of this they allow more sunshine to filter through.
Because these clouds allow more sunshine to filer through, they appear to be much whiter and brighter than their ominous counterparts.
They also are not as likely to bring rain or stormy weather, so you can continue on with your outdoor fun when you see white clouds in the sky.
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