Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Miscellaneous Madness: Cloud Viewing and Classification (and a freebie)

Among the 50+ items on our Summer Bucket List is the activity "finding shapes in clouds." Seems simple enough, right? So obviously mom had to make it more complicated and turn it into a science lesson. First, she decided to make our very own cloud viewers. She'd seen a few floating around the web and designed up a handheld viewing window that includes photos of all the basic cloud shapes. With a chopstick handle, of course.

Once those were ready, Cam and mom hit up the library to check out a few books about clouds, including "Clouds," by Maryellen Gregoire (the simplest and a good one to start with); "Clouds," by Trudi Strain Trueit (the best of the batch -- for kids, but included enough detail to really cover all cloud types); and "the kids' book of Clouds & Sky," by Frank Staub (more detailed and probably for a slightly older age group of kids, but interesting nonetheless).

We packed up our viewers, a picnic and our books and headed over to our local Meridian Hill Park for some cloud viewing. It was hotter than H outside, but we still scored a spot in the shade with a good window through the tree branches for spotting clouds. There was really only one type of cloud gracing the sky that day: big puffy marshmallow cumulus clouds. So we ditched the viewers and took to finding shapes: dragons, butterflies, turtles, etc.

When the local squirrels started to form a posse for our pistachios, we decided it was time to pack up and check out the park's waterfalls. Mistake. Out of the shade it was about 110 degrees (seriously). Turns out cloud viewing is good for a hot day because you aren't moving. We should've stayed put, but didn't dare challenge those city squirrels.

Want to check out some clouds, too? You can make your own cloud viewing window! Mom uploaded our template to google docs (CLICK HERE), so all you have to do is print it on heavy cardstock, cut it out (don't forget to cut out the middle window!), and tape on whatever handle you wish. Mom also put a layer of packing tape over ours to make them a bit sturdier and waterproof. Much like the hidden murals, now that we're in the know, we can't stop looking for and classifying clouds. Come to think of it, we might need an extra travel cloud viewer.

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