Weather for kids doesn't have to be complicated. Since younger children aren't necessarily looking to learn the intricacies of barometric pressure, convection, and other complicated topics when they ask questions related to weather, if you keep your explanations simple you'll make it a lot more fun for kids.
While keeping in mind that some weather simply isn't suitable for a trip outdoors, one of the best ways to get kids interested in weather is to be out and about in various weather conditions. Go outside with the specific intention of observing the weather and talking to your kids about the different things they notice. Here are some questions to get them talking about weather:
- Why do you think it is hotter during certain parts of the year than others?
- What do you think snow is made of?
- Why do we go inside when there is thunder and lightening outside?
- How big do you think hail can get?
- What makes wind?
As most parents know, you probably don't want to ask your child a question that you personally don't already know the answer to. A great website to teach you about the basics of weather is Playtime for Kids website from the National Weather Service. Weather terms are explained in easy to understand terminology, making it much simpler for you to understand weather concepts and pass the information on to your kids.
Check the Forecasts
You probably already check the weather forecasts on a daily basis, either online, in the newspaper, or on the television. Why not involve your kids in this daily ritual to get them excited about learning more about weather?
- Online In addition to the general forecast, most weather websites feature forecasts for:
- UV Index
- Pollen Count
- Air Quality
Exploring the various forecasts online with your kids will open up conversation for a variety of scientific topics. There is no better way to get kids intrigued in a subject than to show an interest in it yourself.
- Newspaper It can be a lot of fun for kids to check out the weather forecast in the newspaper and then compare it to the actual weather outside. A fun project for older kids is to cut out the seven day forecast from the newspaper and then compare it to a weather log the kids keep themselves.
- Television Although most parents like to limit the amount of television their kids watch, weather forecasts invariably find their way into the family viewing schedule. Instead of urging your kids to go play while you watch the forecasts, encourage your kids to join you for the forecasts and talk together about the things you see. Young kids can be quite amused by radar images, and explaining to them how the radars work can get your kids even more interested.
Museums of Weather for Kids
Some cities are fortunate enough to have museums dedicated to the exploration of weather. A typical weather museum features exhibits like:
- Climate exhibits which explore various climate conditions throughout the world
- Severe weather exhibits detailing hurricanes, cyclones, typhoons, and other disasters
- Experiment exhibits led by meteorologists and other weather professionals
- Weather history exhibits featuring the evolution of weather prediction throughout the years
Exhibits at weather museums are usually designed to be entertaining for kids while also keeping the attention of adults. If there is a weather museum in your area, you should consider taking your kids for a visit. Sometimes all it takes is a trip to a fascinating museum to get kids interested in a topic.
There are plenty of books written for kids on the topic of weather. Many of these books feature amazing photographs in addition to the fascinating facts regarding weather which will compel kids to want to learn more. Take a trip to your local library or bookstore and see which weather books prompt your kids to ask more questions. You never know when one book might inspire your kids to develop a life-long love of weather topics.