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Whatever the Weather

This long-term activity enables children to take note of patterns and changes in the weather. It is best suited for older children in any size of group.

Follow our simple step-by-step guide to have a go at this activity today:

What you will need:

  • Plastic bottle (a 2l fizzy pop bottle with straight sides is ideal)
  • Ruler
  • Marker pen
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Superglue
  • Rainfall/temperature graph (you can make your own or download our handy pre-made graph here *LINK TO GRAPH*)
  • Large garden thermometer (you can find one here)
  • Coloured dot stickers (you can find some here)

*Optional extra*

  • 4ft bamboo cane (you can find some here)
  • 5x 30cm ribbon
  • Compass
Photo by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash

Preparing the activity:

  1. To make the rain gauge, using the scissors, cut the top of the bottle off where it starts to taper towards the lid so you are left with the base and straight sides.
  2. Using the ruler, draw cm markers from the bottom of the bottle to 15cm.
  3. Using the duct tape, cover the cut-off top of the bottle so there are no sharp edges.
  4. Superglue the cut-off top to the bottom of the bottle so you can push it down into the ground for stability.
  5. Place the rain gauge outside where it can easily be seen and retrieved by children but won’t be knocked over.
  6. Place the thermometer in a secure place outside where it can easily be seen by children.
  7. Display the rainfall/temperature graph inside, where children can easily reach to place stickers.

*Optional extra*

  1. Tie/stick the pieces of ribbon to the top of a bamboo cane and place outside.
Image by TNL

Doing the activity:

Every morning for a month (or longer – this activity can be extended to cover a few months or the entire year), encourage children to check the rain gauge and garden thermometer. For the rain gauge, children should, note the level of rainfall, empty the gauge and then place it back in position for the next day. Encourage children to take note of both the rainfall and temperature to place correct stickers on the graph.

Assign a sticker colour for the temperature and rainfall (e.g., red for temperature and blue for rain) to be added to the graph every day. Enable children to count the squares on the graph to work out where the sticker should be placed for either the temperature or rainfall, and place it themselves.

Image by TNL

Encourage your Early Years to look at patterns and trends with the weather data they have collected. Is the weather warmer in June than in May? Are the days colder when it rains? For how many days did it rain in May? For how many days was the weather dry? How many more cm of rain fell on Wednesday than on Tuesday?

*Optional extra*

Every day, encourage children to look at the way the ribbons are blowing and record the wind direction using the compass (with help)

Tracking the activity:

30-50 months

Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Self-confidence and self-awareness: “Can select and use activities and resources with help.; Enjoys responsibility of carrying out small tasks.”

Communication and Language: Listening and attention: “Is able to follow directions (if not intently focused on own choice of activity).”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Uses some number names and number language spontaneously.; Recites numbers in order to 10.; Beginning to represent numbers using fingers, marks on paper or pictures.; Sometimes matches numeral and quantity correctly.; Shows an interest in numerals in the environment.; Shows an interest in representing numbers.”

Understanding the world: The world: “Comments and asks questions about aspects of their familiar world such as the place where they live or the natural world.; Can talk about some of the things they have observed such as plants, animals, natural and found objects.; Talks about why things happen and how things work.; Developing an understanding of growth, decay and changes over time.”

40-60+ months

Communication and Language: Understanding: “Responds to instructions involving a two-part sequence. Understands humour, e.g. nonsense rhymes, jokes.”

Mathematics: Numbers: “Counts objects to 10, and beginning to count beyond 10.”

Understanding the world: The world: “Looks closely at similarities, differences, patterns and change.”