STEM Activity For Kids – How to Make Cloud in a Jar

Kids love to look at clouds in the sky. They try to see shapes and patterns in clouds. Why don’t help your kids understand how clouds are formed? This is one of the easy STEM activities for kids that you can try at home.      

Cloud formation begins with water vapor condensing into water droplets. A cloud is formed when billions of droplets are joined together. In this article, we will share two methods for creating clouds in a jar.

This activity and other STEM activities for kids make STEM learning more interesting than traditional education.  

Let’s Make clouds in Jar 

In the first method, you need hairspray as a source of the particle. In the second method, you need a match. 

You can form a denser cloud with the first method. The hairspray method creates visible and impressive clouds. The cloud formation is quick in the second method. The cloud disappears when the air pressure is changed in the jar. 

The Hairspray Method 

You need the following materials to make clouds using this method:   

  • Hairspray 
  • Ice 
  • Hot water: ⅓ cup 
  • A jar with lid 

Pour water into the jar and swirl it around. This will warm up the jar. Turn the lid upside down. Put some ice cubes onto the lid placed on the top of the jar. Leave it there for 20 seconds. Spray hairspray into the jar after removing the lid. You need to be quick. Now, remove the lid and watch the formation of clouds. Remove the lid when there is good condensation formation. You can see the cloud escaping out of the jar.     

How Does Hairspray Method Work 

Some of the warm water you add into the jar turns to water vapor. Water vapor is lighter than air and rises to the top. The air inside the jar near the top is cool due to ice cubes placed onto the lid. Water vapor comes in contact with cold air and cools down to condense. Keep in mind that you need something for water vapor to condense onto. Water vapor condenses onto air pollution, pollen, dust particles etc. In this method, we use hairspray for water vapor to condense onto. 

The Match Method 

You need the following materials to create clouds in the jar using the match:

  • A flashlight
  • Warm water 
  • A balloon (to put it over the jar’s mouth)
  • A match 
  • A jar  

Add warm water upto ½” in the jar. Now light a match and hold it in the jar. Let the smoke enter the jar. Drop the match into the jar or remove it. Cover the mouth of the jar with the balloon. Gently push and release the balloon to change air pressure inside the jar. The balloon may come off if you are not gentle while pressing and releasing the balloon. Push it gently into the jar using your fingers to increase air pressure. Releasing will lead to the formation of a cloud inside the jar. You can clearly see the cloud by shining a flashlight. Push and release several times for additional cloud formation. 

How Does the Match Method Work

Some warm water added to the jar is turned into water vapor. Pressing the balloon increases the air pressure inside the jar. This results in warmer water inside the jar. Releasing the balloon decreases air pressure. This results in cool water in the jar. The cool air makes water vapor condense. Water vapor collects on the smoke particle in the jar, which leads to cloud formation. 

There are many other easy STEM activities for kids that you can try at home such as:

  • Oil spill 
  • Build a balance scale 
  • Sticky note number match 
  • Magnetic slime 
  • Crystal sun catchers 

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