Preschool Science – thunderstorm in a cup

This week my pre-k classroom was learning about the letter T.  We spent an entire morning learning about Thunderstorms.  We don’t get to see rain or thunderstorms in Arizona too often outside of our monsoon season.  Our surprise rain Friday morning went perfectly with my lesson plan!

Brie Brie Blooms, Preschool Science, Thunderstorms

Earlier in the week we read a book about thunderstorms.  Then we talked about thunderstorms, lightning, and rain.  One of our projects was making a picture of lightning.  We started with a piece of black construction paper and glued on cotton clouds.  Then we used white and yellow crayons to draw lightning.

Brie Brie Blooms, Preschool Science Thunderstorms (2)

With it actually raining outside, making thunderstorms in a cup was very exciting. This simple project uses just a few household items.


  • tall clear plastic cup
  • water
  • shaving cream
  • blue food coloring
  • paperclips

Brie Brie Blooms, Preschool Science, Thunderstorms (2)Fill the cup half full of water to represent the sky.  Then add shaving cream on the water for clouds.  Add a few drops of the food coloring onto the top of the cloud to represent water droplets.  Explain as the cloud gets full and heavy the water starts to fall from the sky as rain.  I simplified the concept of lightning by explaining the frozen water in the cloud bumps into each other and causes an electrical charge.  That electrical charge can turn into lightning.  We used bent paperclips to represent lightning in the cups. 

This was the perfect activity for a rainy day inside!


  1. 4

    Amanda says

    Will it work with whipped cream instead of shaving cream? Thank you soo much by the way, my group is doing a research about thunderstorms and trying to make it too! This is the best one yet!


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