Science for Kids: 2 Ways to Make a Cloud in a Jar

Amaze your kids while teaching them how clouds form in the atmosphere with this easy experiment.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

This easy science experiment will show your kids how water vapor is transformed into clouds. Best of all, it only takes a few supplies you most likely have around the house! It’s the perfect way to blend learning and fun all in one.

What You'll Need

  • empty glass jar with lid
  • hot water
  • blue food coloring (optional)
  • ice
  • aerosol spray (hairspray or disinfectant spray)
  • matches

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Prepare the Water

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Coloring the water is optional, but it does make the cloud stand out better. Pour hot (not boiling) tap water into a jar about 1/4 of the way full. Turn the lid upside down and place it on the top of the jar. Place several ice cubes onto the lid, and allow it to rest on the top of the jar for about 20 seconds. Then, remove the lid.

Method 1: Aerosol

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Quickly spray a bit of aerosol spray into the jar, and then replace the lid with the ice still on top. The cloud will form instantly.

Method 2: Match

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Light a match, then hold the lit end in the jar for a few seconds to allow smoke to enter the jar. Then drop the match into the jar. Replace the lid with the ice still on top. The cloud will form a bit slower than with the aerosol spray.

How It Works

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Now for the science: When water vapor condenses onto particles in the air (such as dust, pollen or smoke), a cloud is formed. In this experiment, the particles were introduced via the aerosol spray and the smoke from the match. The ice on the lid created the condensation needed to form water droplets. The result: a mini cloud in a jar!

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Once you're done enjoying your cloud in a jar, open the lid and watch the cloud dissipate into the air.

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