Many teachers wonder if they should include preschool weather activities in their daily lesson plans. Read on to find out "weather" you should...
When you are meeting someone for the first time, what are some of the things you initially discuss? Usually who you are, what you do, and what the weather is are typical of these small talk discussions. Weather is a great topic for strangers to discuss, namely because it is occurring daily and ever changing. It can also be a fascinating topic for most preschoolers.
Teaching children to make observations about weather at a young age is valuable. Not only does it allow for them to take notice of the world around them, but weather has some great science and math components that children can be exposed to.
A good way to begin preschool weather activities is by having daily observations. Most times, doing a weather check is done along with morning circle time. A fun way to introduce the weather time is by singing songs about weather. Children love singing and it helps them remember different types of weather!
Having one child to be the preschool weather helper would be great. That child can go to a window and tell their classmates what the weather was for the day by what they see in the sky. It would also be helpful to have a weather wheel or chart that the child can show what the weather is. I recommend, if you do this at circle time, to limit the amount of time spent doing this. Although the weather helper LOVES their job, the other 15 children will be watchers and become bored.
In one classroom I observed, "Weather Time" was part of morning circle. It included the helper of the day doing the following:
This process took 8 minutes. This does not seem like a long time until you consider that:
I'm not saying that Weather Time should not happen during morning circle. I am suggesting that you need to realistically consider the attention of the group and what other items you want the children to participate in during circle.
Rather than during circle time, consider learning about weather during different centers, including outside!
Consider placing a weather chart in your science center. Throughout the day, the weather helper can change the chart as the weather changes or can go to the chart to make the necessary changes each day. This is a good time to talk with the group that is at the science center about other observations they might notice, such as temperature.
This will lead to talking about what types of clothes are appropriate for that weather and whether or not it is safe to play outside in those conditions. You can also ask them what other kinds of equipment would be needed for that weather. For example, if it’s raining, children can discuss how you will need rain boots, rain coat and an umbrella to brave the elements.
Letting the children collect data about weather is an excellent way to expand the daily preschool weather talks. Taking note of the temperature, making rain gauges, and doing a variety of experiments are all good ways to get the children involved with weather observations.
Provide journals for each child in your science center for them to record these changes and experiments. You can purchase notebooks or make home-made journals (my favorite) by stapling construction paper to plain white paper, folding it to look like a book. The children can then decorate their own journals and leave them at the science table for daily notations!
||Your science center could be another choice of where to place this Weather Bear Your children will be sure to go to this center to help dress the bear!|
After a big storm would be a great time to explore the water cycle with the children. First you can do an experiment. If there are places outside with big puddles, take the children out after the rain has stopped and allow them to collect data on the puddles. Maybe measuring the puddle’s depth would be something you would like to make note of. Have the children make other observations while you are outside.
After you feel enough data has been collected, go back inside and display all the observations. The next day (if it hasn’t rained again), go back outside and measure the puddle again. Ask the children if they have noticed any changes with the puddle. If the puddle has decreased, start the discussion on why they think it has gotten smaller.
Over the next couple of days, continue doing a follow up on the puddle. As we all know, it will eventually evaporate. The children will not quite know this will happen or why it happened, though. This will pave the way for the discussion on the water cycle. Discussions about snow, rain, wind, sun and thunder and lightning can ensue from there.
Collecting data about the weather is a great way to introduce the scientific and mathematical concepts that children will need for future success. They will be learning compare and contrast, cause and effect, language and vocabulary development, quantifying and recording observations just to name a few.
Of course, you can plan themes to focus on different types of weather! CLICK HERE for my main Weather Theme page. It includes general weather activities as well as week long plans for Rain, Sun, Snow, etc.!
Weather is all around us and constantly changing. It is such a natural part of our world that you will hardly need any additional materials to teach it. Introducing these simple, yet important, concepts will be invaluable to your preschool classroom and for the children. Go out and explore with preschool weather activities!