By nature, children are curious about the weather. This post will focus on helping children learn about and study the weather while using Weather Displays, a resourceful tool found in your Buttercups and Fireflies Starter Packs. Making weather observations with children is a comprehensive process. First, they predict or forecast the weather, and then they test their predictions by making observations and exploring with their senses. Children also explore the concept of cause and effect when they engage with the weather.
Prediction and Forecasting: In order to make predictions about the weather, children must observe their surroundings. Children might recognize and describe certain features of the sky and climate to help make their guesses. Support them by asking questions such as: “What color are the clouds? What color is the sky? How does the temperature feel? Are the trees moving?”
Weather Observation: Our senses play an important part in science activities. For example, a sunny day, a cloudy day, and a foggy day look different than each other. How can children tell them apart? Through sight! Weather is also audible. Our ears help us hear the rain or the wind. The sense of touch helps children feel the texture and temperature of the snow (more adventurous children might further explore through the taste). And last, we explore the weather through smell. If you pay close attention, you can smell the rain just as you can smell fresh cut grass in a field or the ocean breeze on a hot summer day at the beach.
Cause and Effect: It goes without saying that weather conditions have an effect on us and the environment around us. An example of this is that after a rainy day, there might be puddles to jump in or a beautiful and colorful rainbow to observe in the sky. Another effect that the weather produces is that it determines the way we dress. The weather can also influence children’s moods. For example, on a rainy or cold day, some children may feel sad that they cannot play outside.
For younger children, the Weather Display begins with a question that prompts them to think, observe, and express their ideas: “What Is the Weather Today?” It also shows pictures of different weather conditions to help children determine the current weather. Through pictures, children are able to explore nature colors, make comparisons, and acquire new language. The Buttercups curriculum also includes weather discussion as part of its daily activities through a song.
For older children, the Weather Display is much more complex. It includes a spot for children to place the picture of the current season, another place where children design a weather pattern and are able to observe how the weather changed throughout the week, and finally a color chart where children can associate the colors with how the current temperature feels. Fireflies provides weather observation suggestions in the Start Your Day section of the curriculum guide for both themes every month.
Benefits of Using the Weather Display in Your Setting
Children are usually filled with a great curiosity for science, and what better way to engage them than by studying the weather and climate change as a basic introduction to scientific exploration. Use the Weather Display to help children develop a desire to learn about science and weather patterns. Extend their interest by briefly talking about and comparing the weather in your country with the weather in other countries around the world.
Cues for Including Weather Observations in Your Daily Routine
- In your science or pretend play area, include props for children to role-play weather reporters or meteorologists.
- Promote science investigation by taking toys and tools, such as plastic magnifiers and binoculars, to outdoor activities.
- Each morning, talk with children about the weather conditions as they arrive to your setting. Ask open-ended questions for them to share their thoughts freely. Invite them to observe how the weather changes throughout the day. Make adjustments to the Weather Display as needed.
Tune In Training
Join us for a free webinar: Wonders of the Weather: Engaging Children in Meaningful Investigations on June 29! Learn about how the weather impacts children’s daily lives and what they’re expected to know and understand about weather developmentally. We’ll talk about the Weather Displays—what they are, how they work, where to keep them, and if/when they’re needed. Ideas for investigating the weather across the learning domains will be shared. Register here