Keeping kids prepared for fluctuating weather changes in the fall can be a challenge. No one wants to be the parent of the jacket-less child spending their recess shivering against the school wall because you both were unaware that a cold front would swoop in during lunch.
Now is a good time to make weather data part of your child’s life. You could always check the forecast together. But why not geek out a bit and show your kids what weather instruments can do?
Making them climate aware builds one more meaningful, relevant connection to your child’s world. Even better, doing these things will also get kids some hands-on STEM practice (science, technology, engineering and math). We’ve rounded up some ideas to get you started.
Rain gauge: A backyard rain gauge is essential for any budding weather guru. With this helpful blog post from Life Over C’s, you can even make a homemade gauge and start recording.
Barometer: Witness the fluctuations of atmospheric pressure with this pair of homemade barometers. These don’t collect data; for that, you would have to check your National Weather Service report, or invest in a digital model. Still, it helps kids make sense of the phenomenon that gives us a reliable heads-up that change is a-coming.
Anemometer: Watch how wind speed varies and experiment with this paper cup version. With some math savvy, you can even calibrate it.
Hygrometer: Discover another unseen presence in the air with a homemade device that responds to the water expelled when you breathe.
Want to take it a step further? According to Wired.com, more than 180,000 people operate their own weather tracking stations, giving them instant access to their own hyperlocal weather data. One way to do this is by purchasing and installing a complete station that instantly sends data to your devices.
Of course, as with the anemometer, you can build on to the STEM challenge. Build, wire and program your own data collecting devices. How’s that for the next science project? However far you decide to take this, any exploration of the weather around us will fascinate your kids!