A great way to spend an afternoon, is laying on the grass looking up, watching the clouds float by. But, do you know what types of clouds are passing by and what do they mean? Help your kids learn about the different types of clouds using these free printable worksheets and activities. Be sure to scroll tot he bottom and grab our instant download: Types of Clouds for Kids Activity Pack.
How Clouds Are Formed
Clouds are formed warm moist air rises. The warm air cools as it rises and eventually the moisture in the air condenses to form tiny droplets of water and clouds are formed. Depending upon where clouds form, they could maybe high level clouds, middle clouds, or low-level clouds.
The high clouds are cirrus clouds, cirrostratus clouds, and cirrocumulus clouds.
Cirrus clouds are feathery and wispy, and composed of ice crystals. They may indicate a warm front is on the way.
Cirrostratus clouds are high clouds that are transparent and cover large areas. They are often very thin and are hard to notice, except for a halo that is formed due to the sun’s rays.
Cirrocumulus clouds consist of several small white clouds that are found at high levels in the sky.
The mid-level clouds are altostratus clouds and altocumulus clouds.
Altostratus clouds are grey or blueish-grey in appearance and found in the middle of the sky. They will likely take up the entire sky. They may be indicative of a coming storm.
Altocumulus clouds consists of several patchy clouds in groups referred to as cloudlets. Isn’t that a cute term? They are made up of ice and water and may appear before a thunderstorm, but sometimes they just show up without precipitation appearing after their appearance.
Low-level clouds are stratus clouds, stratocumulus clouds, and nimbostratus clouds. Clouds with vertical development are cumulus clouds and cumulonimbus clouds.
Stratus clouds are low-level clouds that are grey in appearance. You’ll likely see these clouds on a gloomy, overcast day.
Stratocumulus clouds are grouped together in clumps and range in color from bright white to dull grey. They may be joined together or be spaced out a little.
Nimbostratus clouds typically block out the sun with their thick, dark appearance. These dense clouds produce rain.
Cumulus clouds are my favorite type of cloud. They remind me of fluffy cotton balls with their bright white puffiness. They appear in fair weather conditions.
Cumulonimbus clouds range in color from light grey to dark grey. They are typically associated as storm clouds and indicate some strong weather may be headed your way, such as a thunderstorm with lightning, and even possibly a tornado.
Fun fact: The Latin word cumulus means an accumulation or a heap.
Cumulus clouds are those puffy clouds that look like a heap of cotton balls. These are fair-weather clouds and often show up on sunny days.
However, when they develop towers, they can become cumulonimbus or thunderstorm clouds. These are the clouds that bring severe weather such as rain, thunder, lightning, hail, and possibly even tornadoes.
Types of Clouds Facts for Kids
The feathery clouds you see in the sky are cirrus clouds. They are made entirely of ice crystals.
Mammatus clouds look like a cloud has pouch-like shapes hanging from it. They’re formed by sinking air and often appear just before or just after a storm.
Noctilucent clouds are the highest clouds in our atmosphere. These are wispy clouds that appear at super high altitudes.
Gray clouds are denser than white clouds as they carry a larger amount of moisture.
The amount of moisture in a cloud can be millions of gallons of water.
Fog is a type of stratus cloud which forms close to the ground.
Cumulonimbus clouds can have the shape of an anvil.
Cumulus congestus clouds are a type of cloud that’s also known as a towering cumulus. These clouds often bring showers of snow, rain, or hail.
Recommended Resource: The Weather Student Notebook, a Master Book Companion
Your students can learn all about the world of weather through vocabulary, written narration, notebooking, and copywork as they use The Weather Student Notebook alongside The New Weather Book by Master Books.
All About Clouds Flip Book
To learn more about ten of the most common types of clouds, children will love this free hands-on All About Clouds Flip Book.
This fun flip book contains eight different pages, with each of the pages about a different topic. There is a cover page, which is followed by a page of each of the following topics:
- What are clouds?
- How do clouds float and move?
- Three Levels of Clouds
- Stratus Clouds
- Cirrus Clouds
- Cumulus Clouds
- 10 Types of Clouds
- Clouds Facts
To complete the activities in the flip book, you will also receive in the download, 3 pages of information about clouds, cloud gazing cards which children can complete as they watch the clouds, posters – labelled and unlabeled – of all the 10 different types of clouds they will be studying in this book. Also included are instructions on how to create and use the cloud flip book.
Types of Clouds for Kids Printables
These printables come in different levels to help you teach your children about clouds. You’ll have a chance to learn about basic types of clouds as you use the printables.
Cloud Formation Cards | Learn about the main types of clouds with these amazing cloud formation cards. The cards come in both color and black and white. You’ll also receive information cards that give your children cloud facts about the different kinds of clouds.
Types of Clouds Worksheets | These worksheets walk you through the common types of clouds. Kids will see pictures of clouds so they can learn the different shapes.
Rain Cloud Multiplication Clip Cards | These are fun multiplication clip cards to use while you’re studying clouds. Each card shows a few fluffy clouds with light rain. Children then solve the multiplication problem.
Cloud Formations | Pick up this printable chart so you and your children can watch the entire sky and see how many different types of clouds you observe over a week.
Types of Clouds Guided Drawing | Complete this drawing activity that shows your children how to draw the different types of clouds. Kids will get a short lesson on the different cloud types and then get the opportunity to draw them.
Fun Activities to Learn the Different Kinds of Clouds
These activities are fun for preschoolers and older children alike. You can make a rain cloud in a jar, use cotton balls to create clouds, and also learn how to classify clouds.
Rain Cloud in a Jar | Kids love making a rain cloud in a jar! It’s a great way to show how tiny droplets of water turn into rain.
Cotton ball Clouds for Preschoolers | Help your children learn cloud names by giving them cotton balls to clouds. You can help them to make the different types of clouds or simply let your child have fun making puffy clouds on blue paper.
Cotton Ball Clouds Activity | This activity goes into more detail on how to use a few cotton balls to demonstrate different types of clouds such as cirrus clouds or altocumulus clouds.
Learning about Clouds | This is a fun hands-on activity to help your children learn the names of wispy clouds, layered clouds, and puffy clouds.
Cloud Classification Activity | Clouds are fascinating. This craft has your children make a cloud classification sheet so they can recognize the different types of clouds such as cirrocumulus clouds and altostratus clouds.
Learning the Different Types of Clouds | This is another fun activity to help your children learn the different types of clouds. They can learn about the nimbostratus clouds or the stratocumulus clouds among other cloud forms. It’s a fun way to study clouds with your children.
Types of Clouds for Kids Activity Pack
Help your kids learn about different types of clouds in a fun hands-on way with out Types of Clouds for Kids Activity Pack. This printable pack includes an altitude chart, note-taking pages, a cloud journal, and sorting cards!
Instant Download: Free Types of Clouds Activity Pack
The next time it’s a beautiful day – why not grab a blanket and go and lay in your yard and look up at the clouds! See if your kids can name the different cloud types, or perhaps you just want to find shapes in them. Don’t forget to download our activity pack: Types of Clouds for Kids!
Sara Dennis is a veteran homeschool mom of six who’s still homeschooling her two youngest kids after the older four have graduated, entered college, and moved on to adult life. She blogs at Classically Homeschooling.