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Little Cloud Activities for Preschoolers

Tons of science activities and lessons to go with the book Little Cloud by Eric Carle! Written by a science teacher.

Grace and I got a book from the library last week called Little Cloud by Eric Carle. I love Eric Carle (did you know that he has a blog?), but I’d never seen this particular book before.little cloud by eric carle

Little Cloud is a very simple picture book, following one little cloud through all kinds of shape changes.

After Grace and Joe read Little Cloud, she and I talked about clouds all afternoon.

Little Cloud Activities

Mini Cloud Lesson

I talked to Grace about the 3 types of clouds, and we looked out the window to see what we could find.

  • Cirrus clouds are the high, thin, wispy clouds that you can see through.
  • Stratus clouds are the thick, mid-level clouds that coat the sky like a sheet.
  • Cumulus clouds are the puffy fair weather clouds that we see on sunny days.

I wrote the three names on our dry erase board, and I drew a quick sketch of each one.

Cotton Ball Clouds

I asked Grace to make some clouds with cotton balls. She was excited to get her hands on the glue, and she set right to work.

I don’t give her the glue very often because she likes to make big puddles with it and smear it all over the place.

I don’t like that as much, as you may imagine.

At any rate, I gave her a wad of cotton balls and asked her to make some clouds.


She glued and stacked and stuck.


She was wholly satisfied, and she didn’t mention the kinds of clouds at all.


Then she asked for paint pens. I obliged.


She decorated her cloud just like Eric Carle decorated his.

Just ask her.

little cloud by eric carle

She was very proud of her finished cloud and the rainbow of raindrops underneath.

I told her that it looked like a cumulonimbus cloud.

She didn’t care.

While Grace was gluing and painting, I made my cotton balls into nice little cloud examples.


Painting Clouds

After she glued, I asked Grace if she’d like to paint.

She did.

I offered white paint and a paintbrush. I painted my cloud examples, reviewing again with Grace the three types of clouds.


Then I asked if she wanted to paint some clouds. She did!

painting clouds

She didn’t want to paint my clouds though she did oblige me.

types of clouds

I asked why she painted over so the stratus clouds, and she said, Because those ones cover everything, right? Everything is covered. Can I paint my own cloud now?

Uh, yes? Yes. Go right ahead.

I painted a white shape like the ones in the Little Cloud book.

cloud painting

Grace just painted.


Her painting came out like some of Eric Carle’s. We both thought that was neat.

Dot Marker Clouds

My last idea was to make clouds with dot markers. While I tried it out, Grace was gluing and painting cotton balls.

These clouds didn’t turn out nearly as well as the cotton ball clouds and the painted clouds, but I wanted to share them anyway.


A Cloud Experiment

We didn’t get to this, so I don’t have pictures, but I was going to do an experiment with Grace that shows condensation. It would work better and make more sense to an older child, I imagine, but I think Grace would have liked it.

We’ll probably still do it one of these days.

Here’s what I was going to do –

  • Fill a glass with room temperature water.
  • Fill a second glass with ice, then add enough water to fill the glass.
  • Wait.
  • Within a few minutes, condensation will show up on the outside of the glass containing ice.
  • Ask lots of questions – Why is there water on the outside of the glass? Where did the water come from? Did water drops soak through the glass?
  • If it’s appropriate, explain that the water comes from the air. As the icy water cools the air around the glass, the water vapor it holds becomes liquid water droplets.
    Clouds form in much the same way, as air rises in the atmosphere and gets cooled.

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© 2011 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Little Cloud Activities for Preschoolers”

  1. I can’t wait to try some of these. I just put this book on hold at the library…I’d never heard of this Eric Carle book either!

  2. Thank you very much for sharing this. I have just started focusing on a letter a week with my 3.5 year old, and yours is the best example on how to teach preschoolers on the different types of clouds!

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