Make a cloud in a jar with your kids

While kids are home for extended break, here is a fun weather-based activity you can do with them! Make a Cloud-in-a-Jar with your kids! You only need a few supplies and this learning experience can teach them how clouds form.

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  • A glass jar with a lid (like a pickle jar)
  • A cup of warm water
  • A few ice cubes
  • Hairspray

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  1. Remove the lid of the jar
  2. Pour some warm/hot warm into the jar and swirl it up the sides
  3. Quickly add the lid (facing up) to the top of the jar and place several ice cubes on the lid
  4. After 15-20 seconds open the lid and spray some hairspray into the jar
  5. Place the ice cubes and lid back on, wait a few more seconds
  6. Remove the lid and watch the cloud rise!

Here is how the cloud forms: 

When you add hot water to the jar, some of the water becomes water vapor. Putting the cold ice cubes on top, creates some cold air. Since warm air rises, it meets the cold lid and wants to condense. Water vapor needs something to condense onto which is where the hairspray comes in. Hair spray particles become the object the water vapor will cool and condense onto! When you remove the lid, you will see the cloud rise! In real life, warm air rises, cools and condenses to form clouds. Our air is full of tiny particles of dust, dirt, and pollution so there is always something for the water vapor to condense onto and in return form clouds.

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