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Ever look up into the sky and wonder how clouds form? Or have you ever flown through the clouds in a plane and thought how cool is this? Weather activities like this cloud in a jar can be so fun and simple and spark curiosity in kids. We have plenty of simple science experiments with a weather theme for all year round, as well as spring STEM!


Get ready to add this simple cloud in a jar activity to your weather science lesson plans this season. If you want to learn all about how clouds are formed, let’s dig in! While you’re at it, make sure to check out these other fun weather activities for kids.

How To Make A Cloud In A Jar

Let’s get right to making a cloud in a jar for an awesome STEM activity. Grab a few simple supplies and be prepared to amaze your kids!


  • Warm water
  • Jar with a lid
  • Ice cubes
  • Aerosol hairspray


STEP 1: Pour warm water (not boiling) into the jar and swirl it around to warm the inside of the whole jar.


STEP 2: Turn the lid upside down and place several ice cubes on top of it. Place the lid onto the jar.


STEP 3: Quickly remove the lid and give a quick spray of aerosol hairspray. Replace the lid.


STEP 4: Remove the lid and watch the cloud escape!


How Are Clouds Formed?

Three things are needed to make a cloud. First, you need warm moist air. Next, you need a cooling process. Lastly, you need a cloud condensation nucleus or something to start the cloud. An example of this could be a dust particle!

By pouring warm water into a jar and trapping it, you create the first step which is warm, moist air. This warm air rises and meets with the cool air at the top of the jar which is made by the ice cubes.

The aerosol hairspray provides the cloud condensation nuclei. As the water vapor inside the jar cools down, it begins to form around the hairspray nuclei into many droplets. When you remove the lid, the swirling cloud is released!

This is a great example of phase changes! Check out more states of matter experiments!

Tips For Making Clouds In The Classroom

  1. The water does not need to be boiling and it’s actually best if it isn’t because it will fog up the jar too quickly.
  2. You might choose to do this near an area where you can have a dark, bright surface for the kids to better view their clouds.
  3. This could easily be a fun partner science activity too!
  4. Why not test what happens when you add cold water to the jar instead of hot water. This will help kids to better understand why both warm air and cool air are needed to form the cloud!

Bonus Printable Spring Activities Pack

If you’re looking to grab all of the worksheets and printables in one convenient place plus exclusives with a spring theme, our 300+ page Spring STEM Project Pack is what you need! Weather, geology, plants, life cycles, and more!

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  1. Would it still work without the hairspray? We do not use aerosol products in our house. We will experiment and let you know!

  2. Hi Kim,

    It needs something like the hairspray in order to capture the particles and help to form the nucleus, but you might be able to research a substitute!