Cumulus Clouds: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Diane Sieverson

Diane has taught all subjects at the elementary level, was the principal of a K-8 private school and has a master's degree in Measurement and Evaluation.

Cumulus clouds are one kind of cloud that are easy to recognize. This lesson will teach you about cumulus clouds, what they look like, how they form and the kind of weather you'll have when you see them.

What is a Cumulus Cloud?

Imagine laying on your back in the grass on a warm, sunny day. You and your friends are looking up into the bright blue sky dotted with white, fluffy clouds. You see one that looks like a horse, and your friend sees one that looks like an ice cream cone. And there's one that looks like a rabbit! You are watching cumulus clouds!

Cumulus Clouds with Bright White Tops and Gray Bottoms
Cumulus Clouds with Bright White Tops and Gray Bottoms

Cumulus clouds are fluffy clouds that are bright white on the top and gray on the bottom. These are the kinds of clouds you probably draw when you are creating a picture that has a blue sky and a big, bright sun.

Fluffy Cumulus Clouds
Fluffy Cumulus Clouds

Cumulus clouds look like fluffy pieces of cotton candy floating in the sky, and constantly change shape, which makes them great for cloud watching!

Cumulus clouds float low in the sky and are made up of tiny drops of water. These clouds have very sharp, clear outlines and are formed when hot, humid air comes up from the ground. They are rounded on top, like a cotton ball.

Some cumulus clouds may float close together and others far apart, but they aren't evenly spaced out in the sky, and aren't connected to each other.

Randomly Spaced Cumulus Clouds
Randomly Spaced Cumulus Clouds

As they drift by, they continue to get bigger or they eventually disappear as they evaporate, or go from tiny water drops to a gas.

These clouds usually form when the weather is nice and it will be a great day to play outside, but they can make a little rain or snow. They can also grow into larger, different kinds of clouds that produce powerful thunderstorms.

No matter where you live, you will see cumulus clouds from time to time, unless your house is in Antarctica. That is the only place on Earth that cumulus clouds don't form.

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