Water Cycle Unit Study: Rain Cloud Experiment

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If you have seen our amazing new resource, Water Cycle Unit Study: Why does it rain?, then you’re absolutely in the right place for your next project! I told you about all the rain we’ve been having lately, and how my five-year-old is always asking, “Are the raindrops finished yet?

Hopefully, this Water Cycle Study may help our little homeschoolers have a little more understanding of why it rains and how important this cycle is for our ecosystem. This rain cloud experiment is perfect for before, or after, the study. You can use it as an intro to the study or as a fun activity after!


The Rain Cloud experiment is so easy but can get pretty messy, so be sure you’re prepared. Of course, the kids totally love the mess though. I’m a child at heart, so I have to be honest. The messier, the more fun in my opinion. But then I have to clean up the mess too so…….

It takes just a few simple components that you probably already have in your pantry; a large clear bowl, water, Baby Oil, food coloring, pipettes, and foaming shaving cream. I’m not sure exactly who came up with this experiment first, but we’ve thrown a new spin on it by adding the baby oil

Because water and oil don’t mix, the baby oil sits on top of the water creating a clear barrier between the shaving cream and the water. This barrier allows you to watch the “rain” fall in “drops” into the oil, then stream down through the water.

Clouds, Rain, Clouds Again (I Wonder Why)Clouds, Rain, Clouds Again (I Wonder Why)Nimbus the Little Rain CloudNimbus the Little Rain CloudRain (Weather Ready-to-Reads)Rain (Weather Ready-to-Reads)Duck and Hippo in the RainstormDuck and Hippo in the Rainstorm

The more oil you add, the bigger the clear barrier, and the better view you will have of ‘raindrops’. I suggest a large barrier so that little eyes really get to see the action happening. The photo below is our baby oil barrier. Johannah kept adding her drops in the same spot in hopes of creating a hurricane, hence the very large bubble.

The steps of the rain cloud experiment are just as easy as gathering the ingredients. Fill your bowl about halfway with water then add as much baby oil as you would like for your barrier. Wait a minute or two to be sure that the oil and water fully separate, then start your shaving cream cloud. Basically just schmear it all over the top of the water, it does the work for you.

Again, let a little settling happen. While you’re waiting, gather a small bowl, fill it with water and add your food coloring to your desired rain color. Now you can take your pipette, fill it with colored water, and begin filling your rain cloud. Just stick the tip into various places in the shaving cream and watch as it grows and colored water drops begin to fall as rain.

Water Cycle Unit Study: Why Does it Rain? - The Fervent Mama: Is your little one asking

Looking for the whole Water Cycle Unit Study? Head over here to read more about it and find even more resources to get your little one involved in learning more about how rain affects our ecosystem!

If you’re serious about taking the next step after this rain cloud experiment, I have the perfect little ebook for you! The Water Cycle Ebook is a 10-page digital download that explains the water in an easy to understand way. Follow along the pages to learn more about how rain affects our lives!


If you’re looking for other homeschooling activities to help pound education into your kid’s brains- totally kidding about that last part- then head over to the shop and check our other Free Printable Options.

If you’ve done this experiment, we’d love to hear about it! Be sure to come back and share with us all the fun you had creating your own little rain clouds!

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