Explore Clouds with a Cumulus Animal Zoo
Clouds Spark Imagination
The sky is blue. The clouds are puffy and white, floating along without a care in the world. The human brain will start trying to recognize patterns in the clouds, whether it is a fire-breathing dragon or a sea turtle. What an amazing machine we are lucky to possess!
Design and Create a Cumulus Cloud Animal
Grab your pipe cleaners and cotton balls. This is a simple challenge to set up and design, though the creation step can be quite a bit more challenging than you would think!
- First you will need to think about which animal you would like to try. Try using one you can create with a simple shape or an animal that is easily recognizable due to an unusual feature (like the long neck of a giraffe, or the trunk of an elephant). You will be making a wire frame/stick figure design to start, using one or two pipe cleaners or wires.
- Create the animal frame. You do not need to make it very detailed.
- Prepare your cotton balls. I suggest using the largest cotton balls you can find. I had some “super jumbo” size that I got that worked really well for this. The bigger they are, the less time you will spend unraveling. You need to unravel the cotton balls so you can then wind them around the pipe cleaners.
- Start winding the cotton strips! You will want to overlap the ends so that they stay in place, and then you can fill in any gaps with more cotton. You may use glue if you want them to stay together, but it is not necessary.
- Touch up the cloud animal so that it looks as close to your vision as possible. A few times I couldn’t get the animal to look as I wanted, so I unraveled the cotton and started again. That is okay, too! Here’s what the process will look like:
Go Deeper on the Water Cycle and Cloud Types
While the activity above is a fun hands-on learning tool, if you are studying the water cycle or weather systems, I have created a more detailed resource to support this activity. You can find it here:
My kids were surprised at how much more difficult this task was than it seemed at first! Here are a few more recommendations for animals that work well:
These look amazing hanging up on a blue background! You will feel like you are outside on a gorgeous day staring at these adorable clouds.