A Kid's Science Project on Clouds With Cotton Balls

Explore the science of cloud formations with cotton balls.
••• Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Look up toward the sky and you may see any one of four types of clouds: cirrus, cumulus, cumulonimbus or stratus. Cotton balls possess an uncanny resemblance to clouds and can be manipulated to recreate the look of each different type of cloud. To understand the science behind clouds, kids should first learn about the different types of clouds and the conditions in which they are created. Stock up on cotton balls and create an interactive science project to replicate the clouds that we see every day.

Cloud Types

Stratus clouds sit closest to the earth's surface to create a solid blanket of white. Cumulonimbus clouds also sit low in the sky, but they are very dense and tall and gray in appearance; these are the storm-making clouds that cause thunder, lightning and heavy rain. Cumulus clouds are fluffy and white and spread out and sit high in the atmosphere. Cirrus clouds are farthest from the earth and appear as wispy threads of white.


Each child will need a piece of light blue construction paper and a variety of markers, crayons or colored pencils. Pour cotton balls onto plates or bowls that can be shared between a small group; each child will need at least four cotton balls for their project. Put out bottles of liquid craft glue, which kids will use to fix their cotton ball clouds onto the paper.


Take a piece of blue construction paper and place it horizontally on a flat work surface. Draw the curvature of the earth on the bottom one-quarter of the page and color it in using green for land formations and blue for water. Form each type of cloud using the cotton balls provided and stick them down in the space above the earth on the paper. Label each cotton ball cloud with its correct name just below each one.

Creating Clouds

Pull thin, fibers of cotton off of the balls and glue them to the top of the paper; label these cirrus clouds. Puff out cotton balls around the edges and glue them below the cirrus clouds; label these cumulus clouds. Pull cotton balls out to make them wide and puffy, glue them close together underneath the cumulus clouds; label these the stormy cumulonimbus clouds and draw some lightning coming from the bottom. Pull cotton balls into a long, rolled strip and glue these horizontally just above the earth on the page; label these stratus clouds.

Related Articles

Solar System Projects for Kindergarten
How to Make a Model of the Planet Neptune
How to Make a Solar System Diorama for Kids
How to Describe Weather to Preschoolers
How to Make a 3D Solar System
Rain Clouds Vs. Snow Clouds
How to Make a Model of Mars for 5th Grade
How to Label a DNA Structure
What Are Some Interesting Facts about Stratus Clouds?
How to Make a Plant Cell Model Step-by-Step
How to Make Solar System Projects for Kids
How to Build a Model of the Solar System Out of Balloons
How to Make a 3D Model of the Sun, Earth & Moon
How to Build a Solar System for a Science Fair
Ideas for School Science Models
How to Make a Paper Plate Mars
3D Moon Phase Projects for Kids
How to Make a 3D Hexagon
How to Make a Model of Earth's Layers for 6th Grade
How to Build a 3D Model for Cell Biology Projects Mitochondria...

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!