Making a Cloud Book: A Cloud & Wind Study | FreshlyPlanted

Making a Cloud Book: A Cloud & Wind Study

One of the joys and struggles of school is that it happens everyday (smile). While our children benefit from this rhythm, it's been hard for me to decide what to include day to day. I'm aspiring for simplicity; Small, easy to implement, tasks to build on everyday. Calendar and weather studies have always been a natural part to include in that rhythm: What's the date today? How do we write it, and the month too? How many more days until this, or how many days have passed since that? And the same for weather. Drawing our daily weather on her calendar (a Dollar store one that fits in her bookbag) started when Isia was in kindergarten last year. It helped her start to build time vocabulary (What was the weather like yesterday?) and helped her practicing early science skills of observation and predicting: What do you think the weather will be like later today? Do you think our picnic will get rained out tomorrow? Studying clouds is a helpful part of learning how to predict weather, and this cloud book was so much fun to make together!

Cloud Book Materials:

  • Two pieces of construction paper 
  • Cotton Balls
  • Glue
  • Colored Pencils 
  • String, Yarn or Embroidery Thread
  • Yarn Needle/ Embroidery Needle 
Step One: Fold both of your construction papers in half widthwise (or "hamburger" style as we used to say in my middle school classes). Place one inside of the other, then mark your pages. We began with the first inner page as 1, the next facing page as 2, then the back page as 3 since we're studying three types of clouds: cumulus, stratus, and cirrus. 

Make a Cloud Book
Step Two: Design and decorate your cover, then start filling in your cloud pages. Here Isia has decided to begin with a cumulus cloud, and is referencing "Clouds" by Marion Bauer. (It's a favorite on our nature shelf.) Keep adding clouds until you've filled your pages. You might need to let the pages dry in-between cloud pictures, depending on how much glue was used (which is usually a lot around here!). Here is what her finished pages looked like:

 Make a Cloud Book
Make a Cloud Book
Make a Cloud Book

Now for the assembling! You're going to take a long length (I usually measure it from their hand to shoulder) of embroidery thread (or yarn/ string), and thread it on your needle. You're then going to stack your pages together, making sure they're lined up (then double-checking to make sure) and as even as possible. 
Make a Cloud Book
Make a Cloud Book
You're now going to sew your book together in four stitches. (Sidenote: Once you've mastered this binding, you can turn any stack of papers into a quick book. It's pretty amazing.) I like to mark my holes first by laying my entire book flat on a piece of cardboard, and pushing a pushpin through the middle for my #1, 4 hole. I then make my #2,#3 holes by roughly dividing the space on either side of my middle hole in half. 

#1: Take your needle and go in the middle hole from the outside, leaving a long tail hanging out as you sew (you can see a bit in the picture below), then sew on the inside to the #2 hole. 
#2: Pull your needle through the #2 hole, then sew up the length of the outside to the #3 hole. 
#3: Pull your needle through the #3 hole as pictured below:
Make a Cloud Book
Make a Cloud Book
#4: Then sew inside back up to middle, and back through. You want to pull your string taunt, without bending your book. Knot your string ends together then tie a bow. Clip off any excess string. 

And you have a finished cloud book! These make great references, and ours has a permanent place on our nature shelf. Now you can mark daily cloud formations on your calendar. You can also mark the wind too, which is extra nice to study with clouds (especially since it's so good at pushing them along). A quick weather vane is a great way to figure where it's coming from- and where it's going.

Make a Cloud Book

Weather Vane Materials:

  • Half of a Straw
  • Square cut out of cardstock for the wind catch
  • Smaller* triangle cut out of cardstock for the arrowheard
  • Straight-pin
  • Pencil with good eraser
  • Compass
Tape your triangle to the front of the straw, then tape your square to the bottom end of the same side. Stick your straight-pin through the middle of the straw, right into your pencil, leaving room for your weather-vane to rotate around. Blow gently on it to make sure it rotates freely, making adjustments as needed. 

*The smaller arrowhead allows your weather vane to point toward the source of the wind. Since the arrow is smaller, the surface area toward the back of the arrow is lighter. So when your weather-vane catches the breeze, it turns to distribute the air flow evenly on both sides of the arrow.

To use: Take your weather-vane outside and hold gently up in a windy area. Watch to see here the your arrow points, then compare to your compass to see which direction the wind is coming from. For fun, keep a daily calendar of wind directions and look for patterns- especially during seasonal changes. 

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Cassidy Sevier

A former classroom teacher, I now homeschool my active three kids. I'm passionate about creativity, curiosity, and finding new hiding places for my chocolate stash. Thank you for visiting!

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