Let’s talk about clouds… using a puppet
Use a puppet to encourage children to talk about clouds. The puppet may help some children overcome their shyness. It may also help children who need language support. One thing is certain: the puppet will foster conversation within your group!
Animating your morning routine, daily weather report
Cut pictures and illustrations representing a cloud, a sun, a snowflake, and rain (depending on the season) out of construction paper or cardboard. Glue them on a wall, close to a window and at children’s eye level. During circle time, look out the window with your group. Per what you see, point to the pictures or illustrations that best represent the weather.
(Open picture game-Clouds) Print and laminate the pictures in the format you prefer. Use them to spark a conversation with your group. Ask children questions to see what they know about the theme.
Poni discovers and presents-Clouds
(Open Poni discovers and presents-Clouds) Print and laminate the cards. Cut them out. Use a Poni puppet or another puppet that children are familiar with to present the various pictures to your group.
(Open picture game-Clouds) Print and laminate the pictures in the format you prefer. Use a hole-punch to make a hole in the upper right and left corner of each picture. Stack the pictures and insert a ring through each set of holes. The flipogram is easy to manipulate. Simply show children how they can lift a picture and flip it under the stack. Name each item with your group. Use the flipogram to encourage children to talk during circle time and to ask them questions about the theme.
(Open thematic poster-Clouds) Print, laminate, and decorate the walls of your daycare with all kinds of posters.
(Open stickers-Clouds) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper to create a variety of homemade stickers.
(Open educa-theme-Clouds) Print and laminate. Use the different illustrations to decorate a corner of your daycare and present the theme to your group (and their parents).
(Open educa-decorate-Clouds) Print, laminate, and cut out the various items. Use them to decorate your daycare and set the mood for the theme.
(Open transition games-Clouds) Print. Let children decorate the items. Cut them out and use them to form a garland that can be hung within your daycare or near your daycare entrance.
(Open weather wheel) Print, laminate, and display the wheel on a wall. Each day, name a child who will be the meteorologist. This child will be responsible for manipulating the weather wheel. As a group, determine the day’s weather and have your meteorologist place your weather wheel’s hands accordingly. On a day when it is sunny and rainy, your meteorologist can place one hand on rain and one hand on sun. Otherwise, both hands can be placed on the same illustration.
Gather several objects representing the different seasons and have children identify the correct season for each one. Ask them to identify characteristics of each season: weather, outdoor activities, means of transportation, etc.
Hang a clear shower curtain in one corner of your daycare. Each morning, when children arrive, invite them to draw a sun, clouds, raindrops, snowflakes, or swirls representing wind on the shower curtain using washable markers. Hang suns and small clouds along with raindrops cut out of cardboard from the ceiling.
For each child, you will need a white clothing hanger. Round and bend the hangers to give them a cloud-like shape. If you wish, you could glue cotton balls on either end. Hang a cloud hanger on each child’s hook, in your cloakroom.
Inflate several white balloons. Use invisible thread to tie them together to create a cloud-like shape. Prepare several clouds and hang them from your daycare ceiling.
Children draw and cut out pictures of clouds and suns. Next, using clothespins, they hang them on an indoor clothesline. This activity can last all week.
Sunny or cloudy sky?
Press glow-in-the-dark suns and clouds (or other fun shapes) on your daycare ceiling. Children will enjoy looking up at the “sky” at naptime. Admiring the shapes will help them wind down.
Creating a weather corner
Draw large raindrops, suns, lightning bolts, clouds, and snowflakes on cardboard. Cut them out and hang them from the ceiling. Use invisible thread to tie clear balloons together and hang them from the ceiling too. Variation: Hang a clothesline in your daycare and use it to display children’s crafts and coloring pages throughout the theme.
The picture game may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. The pictures may also be used simply to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game-Clouds) Print and laminate. Store the game in a “Ziploc” bag or in your thematic bin.
(Open picture game-Clouds) Print the series of illustrations twice and use them for a traditional memory game.
ACTIVITY SHEETS AND WRITING ACTIVITIES
Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets-Clouds)
(Open educa-spots-Clouds) Print for each child. Use bingo markers to add color to the different circles. If you don’t have bingo markers, children can add stickers or cereal inside the circles.
Writing activities-C like cloud
(Open writing activities-C like cloud) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open word flashcards-Clouds) (Open giant word flashcards-Clouds) Print several word flashcards. Cut them out and glue each one on a piece of paper. Laminate them. Arrange the words in a binder and provide a dry-erase marker that children can use to trace the words. Older children will enjoy trying to write the words independently below the flashcards.
(Open educa-nuudles-Clouds) Print for each child. Have children color the sheet and use Magic Nuudles to give it a three-dimensional look. If you don’t have Magic Nuudles, simply ask children to fill the spaces with bingo markers or stickers.
To order Magic Nuudles:
The flashcards may be used during circle time to spark a conversation with the group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Clouds) (Open giant word flashcards-Clouds) cloud, sky, gray, white, fog, rain, snow, cotton ball, cirrus cloud, stratus cloud, cumulus cloud, wind
(Open educa-chatterbox-Clouds) Print and laminate the cards. To create your chatterbox, you will need an empty shoebox or a small bin that you can decorate as you see fit. Fill it with tiny objects, illustrations, pictures, and accessories related to your theme. To help you, we have created a series of cards that you may use. During circle time or, for example, when children are waiting for their lunch, have them take turns picking a card or object out of your chatterbox and naming the corresponding item.
Print and laminate the word flashcards. Have each child pick a flashcard and take turns presenting the item to the group. Discuss each item to see what children know about the theme.
(Open word flashcards-Clouds) (Open giant word flashcards-Clouds) Print two copies of several different word flashcards. On a large piece of cardboard, stick one copy of each flashcard vertically to create a word column. Cut the second copy of each word flashcard so you have the word on one side and the illustration on the other side. Attach Velcro behind each part as well as to the right of the uncut flashcards (on the cardboard). Arrange the cut flashcards on the table and encourage children to look at your flashcard board to identify a matching word and illustration. When they succeed, they may stick them next to the corresponding flashcard, on your board. This exercise will help children associate words with pictures.
(Open word flashcards-Clouds) (Open giant word flashcards-Clouds) Print several word flashcards. Use a hole-punch to make a hole at the top of each flashcard. Thread a ribbon through each hole and tie a knot. Bring the word flashcards outside and encourage children to use them to decorate a tree. Every time a child adds a flashcard, invite him/her to “read” the corresponding word. Children will be happy to repeat this activity many times. Eventually, they will learn to recognize the words.
(Open word flashcards-Clouds) (Open giant word flashcards-Clouds) Print several word flashcards and hide them throughout your daycare or yard. Divide your group into two teams. When you give them the signal, children must search for the flashcards for a pre-determined period, for example three minutes. When the time is up, children must be able to “read” their flashcards to earn a point for their team. If they are unable to find the correct word, the other team can earn the point if they succeed.
(Open sequential story-Clouds) Print and laminate. Invite children to arrange the pictures in the correct order.
ROUTINES AND TRANSITIONS
Game-This is my spot-Clouds
(Open transition games-Clouds) Print each illustration twice. Use adhesive paper to secure one copy of each illustration on the table. Deposit the second copy of each illustration in an opaque bag and invite children to pick a card that will determine their spot at the table (corresponding illustration). The illustrations can also be used to determine children’s naptime spots or their place in the task train.
My cloudy path
(Open transition games-Clouds) Print, laminate, and use adhesive paper to stick the illustrations on the floor, creating a path that leads to various areas frequently visited by the children in your group (bathroom, cloakroom, etc.). If you prefer, you can also use the illustrations to delimit workshops or corners within your daycare.
Gather several pictures and illustrations of clouds and stick them here and there within your daycare. For example, you can press them on walls, cupboards, floors, etc. Children will enjoy discovering them during their daily activities.
For this activity, you will need white paper lanterns. Glue cotton batting all over the lanterns using hot glue. Hang your cloud lanterns in your naptime area and light them to create a relaxing atmosphere. Children will love admiring the cloud lanterns in a dark room.
Sitting among the clouds
Purchase a toddler bed flat sheet with clouds printed on it. Set it on the floor, in your circle time area. Invite children to sit among the clouds for circle time or other various quiet activities.
Display a large piece of blue cardboard on a wall, at children’s level. It shall represent a sky. Each day, after naptime, give children who respected naptime rules a white makeup remover pad (cloud piece). Invite them to glue it on your mural. Encourage children to group the pads together to represent different cloud shapes. This activity can continue beyond the duration of the theme, as long as your mural isn’t completely covered with soft clouds.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
I am catching clouds
Turn the lights off. Use a flashlight to project a light beam on the floor and move it in every direction. Children attempt to step on the light beam or “catch” it. Use two flashlights if needed, for example if your group is very large.
Let’s hop on the clouds
(Open models-Clouds) Print. Laminate and arrange the illustrations on the floor using adhesive paper. Play music. Every time the music stops, children must find a cloud to sit on (like musical chairs).
1, 2, 3…clouds!
Make your daycare as dark as possible. In one corner, use a flashlight (or any other light source). The leader of the game stands facing the light and counts while the other players stand on a line, a few meters behind him. The leader of the game counts, “1, 2, 3…” and then says “CLOUD” as he quickly turns around to face the others. The other children must stand completely still. The first child who moves becomes the leader of the game for the next round.
(Open models-Clouds) Print. Laminate and arrange the illustrations on the wall and floor. Give children a flashlight. Turn the lights off and pull the curtains closed to make your daycare as dark as possible. Children walk around the daycare and use their flashlight to observe the clouds.
You will need a square piece of white felt. You can glue it on a piece of cardboard to solidify it. Go outside with your group. With your piece of felt, pretend you are catching clouds. Give each child a piece of white felt and encourage them to try to “catch” clouds.
Modeling dough activity placemats-Clouds
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Clouds) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
Fine motor skills-Crumpled tissue paper clouds
(Open models-Clouds) Print for each child. Have children tear tissue paper into tiny pieces. Next, have them fill a cloud shape with white glue before pressing the balls of tissue paper all over it. Display their work.
Obstacle course through the clouds
Turn off the lights and close the curtains to make your daycare as dark as possible. Create an obstacle course and hang cloud shapes and glowsticks that children must collect as they complete the course from various items.
My perfect dream
Hang a bedsheet vertically from the ceiling. Set a light behind the bedsheet and invite children to take turns miming their perfect dream. The other children simply admire the show.
(Open counting cards-Clouds) Print and laminate. Prepare a series of wooden clothespins on which you have written or painted numbers 1-9. Children must count the items on each card and place the corresponding clothespin on the correct number.
Roll and color-Clouds
(Open roll and color-Clouds) Print for each child. This game can be enjoyed individually or as a group. Children take turns rolling a die, counting the dots, and coloring the corresponding part.
Hunting for white
Use this theme to explore white. Plan a treasure hunt using all the white items you have in your daycare. Have children collect all the white things they see and set them in a box. When they are done, name the objects together and help them recognize how the items are all white…like a cloud.
(Open string activities-Clouds) Print for each child. Children trace the lines with waxed string pieces (Wikki Stix). Variation: Trace the lines with glue and press string on the glue-covered lines.
Wikki Stix are sold on the educatall online store.
(Open educa-duo-Clouds) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must draw a line between the items which go together using a dry-erase marker.
(Open game-Four clouds) Print, glue the cards on opaque cardboard and cut them out. Arrange all the cards upside down on the floor or table (so you can’t see the illustrations). Children take turns rolling a die. Every time a child rolls a “1”, he can turn a card. If he doesn’t already have this cloud in front of him, he keeps it and places it in front of him for everyone to see. The first child who has collected all four clouds wins.
Color by number-Clouds
(Open color by number-Clouds) Print for each child. Children must color the picture per the color code.
Colorful clouds and lightning bolts
(Open colorful clouds and lightning bolts) Print. Ask children to help you color the lightning bolts using the colors indicated on the clouds. You could also color the color names on each cloud using the corresponding color. Cut out the clouds and lightning bolts. Children must associate each lightning bolt to the correct cloud, per the color. Have them set the lightning bolts under the clouds or use adhesive putty to press them behind the clouds.
I am learning to count-With clouds
(Open I am learning to count-With clouds) Print and laminate. Arrange the items upside down on a table. Invite children to take turns turning a cloud and naming the number that is printed on it. Next, they must pick up the correct number of paper clips and use them to create a chain that will represent rain. Have them attach the chain to the cloud. If you have younger children in your group, have them work with an older child. Leave all the material in your manipulation area at the end of the activity.
In your backyard, invite children to look up at the sky. Point to clouds and describe their shape, size, and color. Have fun counting clouds. If possible, photograph clouds daily. Print the pictures and use them to create a unique picture book.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
(Open emotion clouds) Print for each child. Invite children to color the angry cloud using a gray crayon (that won’t hide the facial expression). They can add a touch of color to the happy cloud, for example by coloring its eyes and cheeks with a pink crayon. Next, have them cut out both clouds and glue them back to back. Use a hole-punch to make two holes at the top of the clouds. Children can thread a piece of white yarn through the holes. Knot both extremities of the yarn together. Have children hang their cloud on their hook, displaying the side (happy cloud or angry cloud) that best represents their mood.
In the clouds, I see…
Have fun photographing the sky when many clouds are present and print the pictures. If you prefer, simply use pictures from the Internet. Laminate them and invite children to observe the clouds in the pictures very closely. Can they identify different shapes? Encourage them to draw the contour of the shapes they see. For example, if they see a cloud that looks like a train, they can draw its outline.
(Open mandalas-Clouds) Print for each child. Children must color their mandala using the colors of their choice.
Nice weather, bad weather
Prepare a large piece of blue poster board with a cloud drawn on it. On a large piece of yellow poster board, draw a sun. With their parents’ help at home, children search for pictures representing nice weather and bad weather in catalogues and magazines: raincoat, umbrella, rain boots, shelter, bathing suit, swimming pool, pants, sun dress… During circle time, children present their pictures and associate them to the correct poster.
MUSICAL AND RHYTHMIC ACTIVITIES
Let’s hop on the clouds
(Open models-Clouds) Print. Laminate and arrange the illustrations on the floor using adhesive paper. Play music. Every time the music stops, children must find a cloud to sit on (like musical chairs).
Flying among the clouds
In you yard, draw several clouds on a paved surface using sidewalk chalk. Children will enjoy pretending they are airplanes flying among the clouds. If you wish, write a number on each cloud. When you say “stop”, children must “land” on a cloud and name the number. Of course, you can also use this activity to explore shapes (by drawing a shape on each cloud) or letters.
Looking at clouds
Lie down on the ground and observe the clouds. Ask children to name the shapes they see.
On a beautiful day, give each child a spray bottle filled with water. Have fun spraying items in your yard.
EARLY SCIENCE AND MANIPULATION
Cotton ball clouds
Fill a large bag with cotton balls and set it on the floor, in front of your group. Encourage children to manipulate the soft cotton balls. Next, provide different containers that children can fill with cotton balls. To complete this activity, invite children to glue the cotton balls on a large cardboard cloud (or a cloud shape cut out of adhesive paper).
The water cycle
You will need a plastic Ziploc bag. Using a permanent marker, invite children to draw a sun and a cloud on the top part of the bag. Have them draw tiny fish at the bottom of the bag. Hold the bag open and encourage children to add a small quantity of water to it. Let each child add a drop of blue food coloring to the bag to represent a river. Seal it and stick it in a sunny window. Children will be impressed when they see tiny droplets of blue water form (evaporation) at the top of the bag. These droplets will then slide down to the river (condensation) and so on.
Free the clouds
For this activity, you will need a whisk. Fill the center part of the whisk with cotton balls or large white pompoms to represent clouds. Invite children to remove them one by one, counting them. You could also ask them to insert the cotton balls or pompoms in a clear plastic bottle to create a cloud-themed stimulation bottle. Younger children will love using the bottle to manipulate “clouds” in an age-appropriate way.
For an impressive activity, purchase one or several bars of Ivory soap. Set one bar of soap at a time in a microwave oven, placing a piece of parchment paper under it. Set the timer for approximately 3 minutes (but you probably won’t need to wait that long). Encourage children to watch the microwave closely. Very quickly, the bar of soap will take on a cloud shape. As soon as the transformation is complete, stop the microwave. Set the cloud in a large bin filled with water. Children will enjoy manipulating it and breaking it up to create several tiny clouds.
Fill a deep bin or a clean plastic garbage can with several layers of white tulle. Add white ping-pong balls. Encourage children to insert their hands in the bin or garbage can to remove a “cloud piece”. If you wish, you could also hide tiny stickers representing airplanes, helicopters, birds, or hot air balloons among the “clouds”.
A cloud in my plate
Give each child a blue paper plate that will represent a sky. Use a can of whipped cream to represent a cloud at the top of each child’s plate. Next, provide blueberries that children can arrange under their cloud to represent raindrops. Tell children that it is raining heavily. Thus, they will add a large quantity of blueberries to their plate. Of course, when they are satisfied, let them eat it all up!
Prepare sugar cookie dough with your group. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough and have children cut cloud shapes out of the dough using plastic knives. Any shapes will work! After all, clouds come in all shapes and sizes! Bake the cookies and let them cool. Arrange them on a large piece of waxed paper. Hand children small sieves. Add icing sugar to the sieves and show children how they can gently tap the sides of their sieve to sprinkle sugar over the cookies until they are white. Enjoy your cloud cookies at snack time.
Beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Form balls representing clouds and set them on a baking sheet. Bake them and enjoy!
Set a large piece of dark plastic on the floor, a blue shower curtain for example. Give each child a small portion of whipped cream. Using their hands, have them spread the whipped cream on the plastic to represent clouds.
ARTS & CRAFTS
(Open mobile-Clouds) Print for each child. Have children color and decorate the various shapes and assemble them to create a mobile. The items can be hung from a clothing hanger, a perforated plastic container, or a paper plate.
My cloud hat
(Open educa-decorate-Clouds) Print and cut out. Glue the shapes around a hat or headband.
Cut a large cloud shape out of heavy cardboard. Give each child a cotton ball and a clothespin. Invite them to grasp their cotton ball in the tip of their clothespin to create a special paintbrush. Next, have them press the cotton ball in white paint and press it on the cloud shape. Keep going until the cloud shape is completely painted. Display it on a wall.
Give each child a piece of blue construction paper. Help them fold it in half horizontally and open it up again. Pour white poster paint in a squeezable bottle and let each child press a small amount of paint on one half of their paper. Next, have them fold their paper closed and rub the upper portion using the palm of their hand for a few seconds. When they open it, they will discover a unique cloud shape. Let dry. Display the clouds on a wall within your daycare.
My rain cloud
Children trace a cloud shape on a piece of white Fun Foam. Next, have them cut it out and use a hole-punch to make holes along the bottom part of their cloud. Set a variety of blue ribbons (different lengths) in the center of the table. Help children thread a ribbon through each hole and tie a knot at one end, letting the ribbon hang below the cloud to represent rain. Display the rain clouds on a wall.
(Open models-Clouds) Print the models and use them for various activities and projects throughout the theme.
(Open puppets-Clouds) Print the various models on cardboard. Ask children to cut them out and decorate them with arts & crafts materials. Glue a Popsicle stick behind each one to complete the puppets.
(Open models-Clouds) Print and glue on heavy cardboard. Fill the shape with glue. Crumple tiny pieces of white tissue paper and let children glue them on their cloud.
(Open coloring pages theme-Clouds) Print a cloud for each child. Have them color their cloud and glue it on blue construction paper. Help children cut out their cloud. Hang their work from the ceiling using invisible thread.
(Open coloring pages theme-Clouds) Print for each child.
Identical coloring pages-Clouds
Print the same coloring page for each child and an additional copy for your model. Color only certain parts of your picture. Present the model to your group and ask them to color their picture to make it look exactly like yours.
Print and laminate several coloring pages and arrange them in a binder with a few dry-erase markers. Leave everything on a table for children to explore.
Play musical drawing with your group. Give each child a coloring page. Have children sit around a table. When the music starts, they must pass the coloring pages around the table. Every time the music stops, they must color the picture in front of them until the music starts again.
Give each child a picture to color. When they are done, cut each picture into pieces to create unique puzzles.