When we started using theme units in our homeschooling, it was a fun way of teaching our children on a variety of subjects. We learned about seasons, weather, holidays, places and modes of transportation as well as other areas the kids were interested in.
One thing we enjoyed from the very start was learning about science and how things work or how they are created. When we did a unit study on Clouds, we found a number of books the kids enjoyed.
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You don’t have to be a Charlotte Mason homeschooler to enjoy viewing clouds or learning about them. What is great about studying clouds is they are a wonderful way to predict weather. Who hasn’t noticed when the clouds begin to get dark, indicating rain is coming. Clouds have different shapes, colors and sizes that children can discover by reading books and looking out their window to see what the day will bring.
Here’s our list of top ten books on Clouds by order by age group:
This book for ages 4-8 is a delightful book for young readers that shows some basic facts about clouds. Children learn about the three basic types of clouds: cirrus, stratus, and cumulus. Readers learn that clouds keep the temperatures cooler, provide shade and that without clouds there would be no rain. The water-color illustrations and text help youngsters understand what makes a cloud and why they are important.
Our Review: This book was a favorite when our sons were preschoolers. The kids loved the pictures and enjoyed the way the book explained clouds to them. Our youngest had declared he was looking forward to winter when he could make his own clouds with his breath. One child said he would have preferred it had actual photos instead of illustrations but the youngest disagreed, saying the book was perfect the way it is. Even though this is an older printed book by most standards, I think this book is great at explaining the subject of clouds to preschoolers.
Fowler’s book for ages Preschool to age 6 uses simple text and beautiful illustrations to describe to young children what clouds are made of, it presents the different types of clouds and the water cycle of clouds. Children learn to see different shapes in clouds, that rain comes from clouds and are made of water.
Our Review: Both of my sons enjoyed this book when they were young. The book is written more on a child’s level than previous non-fiction books we read on clouds. I think they were able to grasp more of the information as it was presented in this book. My youngest son liked the book because it talked about the shapes you can see in clouds and the descriptions of the different types. My oldest son loved the illustrations and wished we had used these pictures when we made our cloud cards. He was surprised to learn that a fog is a cloud and we make small clouds when we exhale air in the cold winter (the cloud is formed as our warm moist breath reaches the cold air). We recommend this book for with young children who want to know about clouds.
A wonderful book for ages 4 to 8 introduces young children to the ten most common types of clouds and discusses what weather will likely occur based cloud formations. The book mixes fact and fiction to teach the science of cloud formation is a way that children will both understand and enjoy.
Our Review: My youngest was not interested in this book when he read it a few years ago, it could have been that they thought by the looks of the book, it was going to be “too wordy” in his opinion, however but once he started reading the book, he was all eyes and ears reading the nicknames of clouds, the various types of clouds and what they do as well as the myths inspired by different cloud shapes. After our reading, we sat outside looking at the clouds, describing the cumulus clouds as popcorn clouds.
With wonderful illustrations, this non-fiction book for ages 4 to 9 discusses clouds which come in different shapes, sizes, and types. Children discover what type of weather to expect to see when they have spotted a specific type of cloud.
Our Review: What sets apart this book from others we have read that it engages the kids with information on how a cloud is formed and how to tell each type of cloud apart. The kids learned FOG is a cloud. So when it’s foggy, you’re inside a cloud. An added bonus is an experiment the kids enjoyed performing.
The book for ages 7 to 9 explains simple science concepts to young children by introducing 11 different types of clouds according to their positions in the atmosphere, explaining what kind of weather is associated with each type of cloud.
Our Review: Rockwell does a wonderful job of describing each type of cloud formation, our children were attracted to the folk-art-style paintings depicting clouds and children playing or working outside. We found this book is unlike most nonfiction books, even with its child friendly feel, the book is able to inform children on the different types of clouds in the sky.
6. The Man Who Named the Clouds by Julie Hanna (Kindle Edition)
This picture book biography for ages 8 to 10 tells the story of 18th-century English meteorologist Luke Howard. Kids learn he started keeping a weather journal at age 10, maintaining an interest throughout his life. Howard proposed a system of classifying clouds into seven types, which was adopted and in adapted form, is still used today.
Our Review: This book uses a wonderful method to introduce the fascination of clouds and their names to older children, including an activity where children can keep their own weather journal like Luke Howard did. The boys were able to discover how clouds received their unique names in Latin and includes I believe it does a splendid job of presenting the biography of Luke Howard and the key characteristics of clouds without overwhelming the reader with a lot of historical background on Luke Howard.
This book for ages 8- 10 answers many questions that children as well as adults have about clouds. Readers learn what people could tell from the sky, what the sky is made of, what makes air humid, what are clouds, and how air pollution affects the sky, Everything about the sky and clouds is presented in this informative book which includes vivid photos, charts and experiments that children can perform.
Our Review: At first my older son was drawn to this book because of the experiments but he soon discovered it answered many of his questions on clouds as well as what causes lightning and thunder, why the sky’s color changes at the beginning and end of the day. He was excited that the book had several experiments that could be performed and asked we could do several of them throughout the week. I would recommend this book for children ages 9-12.
This Peterson First guide for ages 11 and up contains easy-to-understand answers to questions about clouds and weather, featuring 116 color photographs that help readers identify clouds, with explanations of what each cloud type tells about the weather to come.
Our Review: This is one of the first books we used as a field guide for Nature Study. The text is easy to read and the pictures are beautiful. The kids liked it because it fits well into their hand or pocket when outdoors during nature study.
9. The Cloudspotter’s Guide: The Science, History, and Culture of Cloud by Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Kindle Edition)
This guide-book for ages 12 to adult reveals everything there is to know about clouds, from history and science to art and pop culture. Taking each cloud type providing details of what it typically looks like, where and when it can found and what type of precipitation (weather) it gives rise to. The author outlines tips on weather forecasting by describing how one type of cloud can become another.
Our Review: My oldest and I recently began reading this book over the summer and I have to say we is one of the best guides on Clouds. My oldest found descriptions of how the clouds form and their effect on the weather provide insightful as well as entertaining. We both enjoyed the book’s separate chapters for each of the 10 main cloud types along with pictures of various species, scientific info, and tips for identification. An added bonus was additional chapters discussing supplementary cloud features, contrails, and cloud seeding.
Although this guide book is written for adults, the science is easy enough to follow for older children and makes for a great book for covering a unit study or nature study on clouds.
10. The Cloud Collector’s Handbook by Gavin Pretor-Pinney (Kindle Edition)
This book for ages 12 and up is a good resource for cloud-spotters and nature study enthusiast to identify cloud formations anytime and anywhere. All the common cloud types are represented, as are many of the rare ones, each fully described and illustrated with a range of colorful photographs.
Our Review: Although considered a but advanced for young children, we found this ebook an invaluable resource to our family for cloud study. Our sons are enjoying this book as an accompaniment to The Cloudspotter’s Guide. It is a great reference for when you are trying to determine what type of clouds you are viewing. The boys have been having fun gaining points as they “collect” different types and formations of clouds. As a family, we compare our notes and discuss what we have collected.
For more information on what we use for Nature Study, visit our post.