This past week we left Corpus Christi, TX during Hurricane Harvey and spent a few days in a hotel. It was raining the first few days and then my youngest got sick, of course. So, the sun was out but we were stuck in the room again. It was a bit of a challenge keeping the kids occupied and having fun while they were cooped up. Hey, but at least we were safe and dry, right?
I figured it was a perfect time to do a little impromptu weather study.
We started our hurricane investigation by watching a video from National Geographic, by looking at this article from NASA on How Hurricanes Form, and then making a model. When I think of clouds I think of shaving cream, so we bought a bottle to use to make our model. We filled a large pot with warm water and stirred it to make the circular pattern of a hurricane and then we added in some blue sugar glitter to the water and watched it spread out in the water. Next we added shaving cream to the pot to make clouds on the top of our hurricane and then of course more blue sugar glitter.
The kids even took the shaving cream into the tub to make some hurricanes.
Websites for Hurricane Study & Lessons
We used these websites and lesson plans to extend our knowledge:
We started with this video from National Geographic about extreme weather.
This is a great description of how a hurricane forms. This site also has links to other extreme weather education resources. Just click on the education tab on the far right and look around.
This is a link to a 4th-grade lesson plan done by Mensa. We only got into the first few pages of this, but I love it because it includes a lot of in depth ideas for learning relating to hurricanes, like the origin of the names cyclone, typhoon, and hurricane.
Also, It includes a primary source document of a New York Times article written in 1900 about a hurricane that hit Galveston, TX, which we read and discussed. My son also enjoyed the lesson on coming up with a name for North Atlantic hurricanes from NOAA.
* The lesson is great, but some of the external links within it didn’t work. That wasn’t a huge problem for us because we usually grab bits and pieces from all over when we are learning about a subject, but it could be frustrating if you thought you had all you needed.
Edible Hurricane Dough
We also had to make some fun edible marshmallow play dough.
I have seen quite a few recipes on the internet that melt marshmallow, but that seemed like an extra step when they sell marshmallow fluff. So, I had been wanting to try to make some.
Here are our ingredients for Edible Hurricane Dough:
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We used a 13oz. container and it made quite a bit.
We bought a 32oz. bag and used about 3/4 of it, about 2-3 cups worth. We added a little at a time and mixed it with a spoon at first and then with our hands. My son loved this part and said it was so soft and fluffy.
Silver and blue edible sugar glitter
Add as much of this as you like. We bought the silver to make it look more like clouds and the blue for rain color. The blue sugar actually gave the dough a really light blue color after a little mixing.
To make Edible Hurricane Dough:
We emptied the jar of fluff into a pan and mixed in confectioner’s sugar until it wasn’t sticky anymore.
And, that was a lot of sugar people.
Eventually… it wasn’t sticking to our hands and we could mix in the sugar. It gets softer the more you play with it. And, it smells amazing. The kids were begging to try it the whole time we were mixing it.
*I ended up adding about a tablespoon of room temperature butter to it to help with the stickiness. If I’d had vegetable oil I would’ve used that.
It was a little messy, a lot sticky, but super fun and the kids had fun winding the dough and trying to get it to look like a hurricane.
What DIY play dough recipes have you tried? Let me know in the comments.
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