Car Game: Cloud-Spotting

Clouds are something that fascinate almost all children at some point in their lives and this cloud-spotting car game is a great way to use this natural fascination to help improve both your child’s observation skills and their knowledge about how the world around them works. The game itself is very simple and involves trying to spot and identify as many different types of cloud, and other weather phenomena, as possible on a single car journey. To help you play this game, we’ve created a cloud-spotting sheet which has photographs of fifteen different clouds and weather phenomena. Some of these are common, others are much more rarely seen, but as a set, they’ll encourage your child to observe the world around them, and to ask questions about how it works. While this game can be played year round, in the UK, it’s best played in spring and autumn, when the weather is most variable, and the widest variety of clouds can often be seen.

Cloud-spotting Game Sheet

This game sheet can be used to play a car game which involves spotting as many different types of cloud as possible, either on a single journey, or across multiple journeys. You can download a copy of this game sheet by clicking here.

How Long Does It Take To Play? There is no set time-limit to this game, and it can last as long as any journey. It can also be played across multiple journeys, if you or your child so wish.

Ages: Five and older. For younger children, you can simply stick to spotting different types of clouds, but for older children, you can add in a scoring element to make this game more complicated (see variations below).

Core Life Skills It Will Help Develop: Academic Skills – Understanding how the world works; Critical Thinking Skills – Observation. This game can also be used to stimulate discussions on weather, climate and other natural phenomena.

What Do You Need To Play It? This game requires nothing other than the cloud-spotting game sheet which accompanies this article.

Preparation: No preparation is required, other than printing out a copy of the game sheet, and ideally this should be laminated so that it can be re-used time and again. If you are based in the UK, you can purchase a re-usable laminated version of this score sheet from the link in the For Parents section at the end of this article. It will also be beneficial to do some background reading on clouds, how they form and what the different types are so that you are ready to answer any questions your child may have. You can find links to a number of useful website and other resources to help with this background reading at the end of this article.

How Do You Play It? Before starting this game, ensure that your child can see well enough out of the window to be able to observe a large portion of the sky. Ideally, they should be seated in the front passenger seat alongside you, but you should only do this if it is safe and legal to do so (i.e. that they can still sit in an appropriate car seat, that they can be safely strapped in, that any front passenger airbags have been de-activated, and that the seat is pushed as far back as possible). Next, explain to them that there are many different types of clouds, and quickly go over the types of clouds and other weather phenomena shown on the game sheet (to help you do this, you can find some basic information about each one on the second page) so that they understand what they are. After that, they are ready to start observing the skies above them to see which ones they can spot.

In the more advanced version of this game, your child can record how often they’ve seen each different cloud type and then can use the points provided for each cloud type (based on their rarity) on the score sheet to create a total score. This version is best played over multiple journeys.

Download: Cloud-spotting game sheet: This game sheet provides photographs and information about fifteen types of cloud and other atmospheric phenomena which can be used to play this cloud-spotting game. To download it, click here. If you are based in the UK, you can purchase a re-usable laminated version of this score sheet from the link in the useful products section at the end of this article.

 Links To Additional Information About Clouds And Cloud-Spotting

  1. Clouds On Wikipedia: This is the Wikipedia entry on clouds that provides plenty of information about clouds, how they form, and the different types that you might see.
  2. What Are Clouds And How Do They Form? This is a brief article from the UK Met Office that provides information about clouds and how they form.
  3. Cloud Types: This page provides a nice picture showing the different cloud types and the different altitudes at which they form. The same site (the UCAR Center For Science Education) also provides a very nice photo gallery of different cloud types, and a great page with information on how clouds form.
  4. The Cloud Appreciation Society: If your child becomes very interested in cloud-spotting, then they can consider joining the Cloud Appreciation Society, where they can find other like-minded people. Older children may also enjoy reading The Cloud-spotters Guide written by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, the founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society. UK-based parents can purchase this book from here, while US-based parents can purchase it from here.
  5. The Cloud Collector’s Handbook: Also written by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, of the Cloud Appreciation Society, this provides an identification guide to every known type of cloud, and will provide a more in-depth knowledge of cloud types. UK-based parents can purchase this book from here, while US-based parents can purchase it from here.
  6. How Do Clouds Form Video: This is a nice video on YouTube for kids which explains how clouds are formed.

For Parents Based In The UK

  1. Re-usable laminated cloud-spotting game sheet: While you can download the game sheet that accompanies this post for free, we also offer the option for you to purchase a re-usable laminated version for just £2.99, including free postage to any UK address (sorry, this option is not currently available for non-UK parents). For this price, you get a double-sided laminated cloud-spotting sheet, featuring photographs of fifteen different types of cloud and other weather phenomena on one side and additional information about each of them on the reverse.

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About The Author: This post was written by Colin Drysdale, the creator of How To Raise A Happy Genius.

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