Fall | Air: Pre-K and Kindergarten

Identify That Cloud

Summary: Growing gardeners are great at sorting and putting things into categories. Today we will explore three different types of clouds. 

Before Visiting the Garden: 

Gather: Images of clouds, cotton balls, glue, crayons, and construction paper

Explore: “Weymouth Bay” by John Constable: Do you see the cumulus cloud in the picture? 

Read: Little Cloud by Eric Carle 

In the Garden: 

Clouds come in all shapes and sizes. Weather scientists, also known as meteorologists, break clouds into three main types: cumulus, stratus, and cirrus. Let’s take a look at the clouds we have today.

Questions to Explore:

Do you see any clouds today?

Can you count how many there are?

What color are they?

How big are they? Can you describe their shape? 

Learning to “read” clouds can help you as a gardener to know what kind of weather to expect. If you see a stratus cloud, it might mean that rain is in the forecast and you might not have to water your garden today.


Grab your cotton balls, blue sky construction paper, and start illustrating the different cloud types:

  1. Cumulus clouds are nice and puffy. They mean the weather will be nice unless they move together to form a big thunderhead. Gently stretch your cotton ball making it big and pillow-like. Glue your cumulus cloud to your sky.
  2. Stratus clouds look a bit like our garden rows; they are long flat clouds that grow together to form a blanket over the sky. In the spring they mean rain and in the winter, snow! Stretch and flatten your cotton balls into a comfy looking blanket. Glue your stratus cloud to your sky.
  3. Cirrus clouds are the highest clouds in the sky. They look like feathery scarves blowing across the atmosphere. In a blue sky, a cirrus cloud tells us it’s going to be a beautiful day. Take your cotton ball and stretch it to make it as wispy as you can. Glue your cirrus cloud to your sky.

Beyond the Garden | Shaving Cream Clouds:

Try this fun experiment/art project:

  1. Gather a clear bowl, 4 small clear glasses, food coloring, a medicine dropper or syringe, water, and shaving cream
  2. Fill your bowl two-thirds full and glasses half-full with water
  3. Add a few drops of food coloring to each glass of water
  4. Spray shaving cream on top of the water in the big bowl
  5. Use your syringe to drop colorful water on top of the shaving cream and watch your clouds “rain” the rainbow.

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials:

Cloud quizzes and info from NASA: http://spaceplace.nasa.gov/cloud-scramble/en/

Note for Parents:
Each lesson suggests you explore a piece of artwork and read a specific book with your child. The artwork and books are easily available for view with an online search. However, these suggestions are not necessary to complete the lessons.

Guiding Principles


Learning, though not always visible, is always happening. The lessons are designed using inquiry as a base. Rather than “right answers” be more concerned with asking good questions.


Things may not go as planned. The lessons are designed to be used in whatever way works best for you. You can use all of the lesson or just pull a piece out of it.


Planting and cultivating a garden is believing in possibility. The lessons are designed to generate excitement about the future.


Each lesson includes a way to take the learning out into the community for more learning and more connection.


When a young child’s innate curiosity is unleashed in a garden the possibilities are endless. Any topic is open for exploration.


You will get dirty. There will be bugs.