Meteorologist Dan Tomaso shares a ‘Cloud in a jar’ activity to teach kids about clouds, rain and the water cycle.


1.) Water

2.) A clear cup or jar (a mason jar was used in the demo)

3.) Food coloring (any color)

4.) *Foamy* shaving cream


1.) Fill your cup or jar half-way up with water

2.) Shake up the shaving cream and spread/spray a small amount of the shaving cream to the top of the water. Less is more! You want to make a billowy cloud, but you don’t want to make it too big if you want good results.

3.) Add several drops of food coloring on top of the shaving cream. This will allow the shaving cream to saturate the cloud.

4.) Observe how the food coloring gradually falls from the cloud- that is the rain simulation! Just like the real world, sometimes the rain shaft forms in different areas of the cloud cover. Then as the rain falls, the cool, damp air spreads out as it hits the ground- or as the food coloring hits the bottom of the jar.


Clouds are made of water, and in the water cycle, the water is first evaporated into the air. This can be from the ground or from a body of water like a river, lake, or ocean. Once the air evaporates and becomes water vapor, the water vapor rises in the air and cools and condenses out. This condensation, when enough of it, will create clouds! And when the air becomes saturated with moisture/water vapor, rain/snow showers form, or even thunderstorms! Those showers and storms can produce varying amounts of rain as the rain shafts form. Rain then hits the ground or bodies of water and the cycle starts all over again!