About the Weather

Explore some activities to do in these ever-changing days.

Going for a walk in the rain.
Going for a walk in the rain.

Let’s Talk About the Weather!

With the weather changing every 5 minutes across the UK, not only is it the topic of many conversations but it’s also a fantastic opportunity for hands-on activities! Yesterday we woke up to a scattering on snow on the ground. The rain washed this away by mid-afternoon and the sun peeped its head out just before it went dark. It felt like a weather roller coaster.

The weather is a huge topic of conversation all year around and we have enjoyed measuring and exploring different aspects of it throughout this past year. It has also opened up the chance to discuss climate change and the effects the rising temperatures can have on the environment and on our own lives.

Discovering different types of cloud has also been really interesting for us and although we have times struggled with the pronunciation of some of these words, we are now able to recognise a cumulonimbus cloud when we see one!
Teddy measuring precipitation.
Teddy measuring precipitation.

STEM Activities Are Great

Performing investigations related to the weather provides multiply opportunities to support children in developing Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths skills, also known as STEM skills. One of our favourite activities has been to measure precipitation, an excellent example of how STEM skills can be incorporated in a hands-on activity.

Children can develop their science skills by making predications, drawing diagrams and using their results to reach conclusions. They can develop their technology and engineering skills by making a measuring bottle suitable for measuring precipitation. They can also practise real life maths skills, through reading measurements of precipitation and recording this in a table and graph.

Using a thermometer to measure temperature.
Using a thermometer to measure temperature.

Understanding the Weather with Units of Measurement

The term ‘units of measurement’ refers to the units we use to measure different physical quantities such as length, mass or temperature. Reading measurements accurately is a skill which children need to practice. The great thing about measuring different aspects of the weather is that children can practise and develop these skills in real life terms, using the appropriate tools.

Length / Height Mass Capacity Temperature
Unit Millimetres
Degrees Celsius
Abbreviation mm
Tool Ruler or tape measure Scales Measuring jug Thermometer

An example of this is to measure temperature. Younger children recognise they feel hot or cold in different weather conditions. Using a number to describe the temperature is a subjective concept and can be difficult to comprehend. By using a thermometer outside, and reading the measurements themselves, children can begin to understand that 5 °C feels cold and 25 °C feels warm.

Measuring wind direction activity sheet.
Measuring wind direction activity sheet.

Tips for Measuring the Weather Accurately

Developing skills in measuring accurately can take time and practice. Here are a few tips to discuss with your child whilst they are developing their measuring skills.

  • Measure using the correct tool.
  • Measure using the appropriate unit of measurement. Consider, what are you measuring? Length? Temperature? Weight?
  • Use only one unit of measurement whilst measuring.
  • Begin at ‘0’ before counting the units.

I have designed resources to support children in recording their measurements, whether in a table or in a graph.

Cumulus cloud artwork.
Cumulus cloud artwork.

Exploring the Different Types of Cloud Cover

Discovering different types of cloud has also been really interesting for us and although we have times struggled with the pronunciation of some of these words, we are now able to recognise a cumulonimbus cloud when we see one! Using the Hands-On Education weather topic and the different art materials suggested within to illustrate the different clouds was a great creative activity. In particular, mixing glue and shaving foam was really effective in portraying fluffy cumulus clouds.

We also researched how to measure cloud cover and discovered this is measured in the unit oktas. To measure cloud cover you will need to make an okta grid. The grid has eight windows which you can hold up to the sky. Count the number of windows which now show white clouds inside. Each window represents one Okta. So, if clouds are presented in 3 windows, there are 3 oktas of cloud cover.

Harry measuring wind direction.
Harry measuring wind direction.

Measuring Wind Direction

Another STEM activity, measuring the wind direction has been our favourite! The boys both enjoyed making their own wind sock with very little assistance. It is always great to have an activity which they can perform independently and take ownership of the task. This activity is also a great opportunity to use a compass.

We love a compass but without any reason to use it, it quickly ends up at the back of the drawer. In this activity children can use the compass to check which direction the wind is blowing in and record this on a table. After a week of measuring the wind direction at the same time every day, my boys were able to compare their results.

We hope you have fun outdoors no matter what the weather! Here are some related topics you may find interesting.

Key Stage One


Key Stage One

Weather Activities

Key Stage One
Measurements: Two

Measurements: Two Activities

Key Stage Two
Wonderful Water

Wonderful Water Activities