Learning about the weather with a toddler

Two-year-old Talitha has been fascinated with the weather recently. Most mornings, when we come down to the kitchen, she rushes to look out the glass doors and tell me: “It’s a bit sunny” or “It’s raining!” She loves adding “a bit” before most adjectives. I wonder if I do this subconsciously. Anyway, I’ve been going with this and observing the weather a lot more. Someone on the Circus Queen Facebook page mentioned that Autumn is such a good time to chat about it because there’s so much variation. Here’s how we’ve been learning about it.

1. Get out in it
By nature I’m a bit slothful. Well, actually, I don’t think it’s anyone’s true nature to spend excessively amounts of time sitting indoors but that’s become my conditioning and I’m so conscious that I don’t want that to become Talitha’s. She loves being outside. To her, it’s all fair weather. Rain? That’s for catching with your hands. It makes puddles for splashing. It’s weather for dancing. I’m all grumpy and “Argh! It’s RAINING!” but she’s like, “Yeah, bring it, rain!” I’m equally grumpy if it’s hot and sunny (not that we get much of that here in the UK) but for her, it means she gets to wear sunscreen. Goodness, this child loved slathering on sunscreen this summer.

Children’s nature seems to be to spend most of their time out in, um, nature. So, running about in the garden, pretty walks, time at the park, all of this is learning. She notices details about the world that I would miss. This morning she was intrigued by a slug on our front lawn and wondered if it was a poo. Some mornings we go snail spotting. I find myself naturally chatting with her about it and telling her the tid bits I know about why snails and slugs come out when it’s wet, how they move around and what they like to eat – our plants!

Making a weather chart with a toddler

2. Talk about it
She loves to exclaim that it’s raining. I respond by describing it: “It’s raining heavily – raining lots and lots and lots” or “It’s drizzling – raining a little bit.” If she says it’s cloudy, we might stop and look at the clouds. What colour are they? Some are white, some might be grey and is there a bit of blue sky somewhere? Can we see the sun? She’s started asking me why about lots of things and so far I’ve said that God has made it so the plants can grow but I need to refresh my memory on how the water cycle works because I don’t think it’s ever to early to start talking about processes like that in simplest terms, even if she doesn’t understand at first.

Make a weather chart with a two-year-old

3. Make a weather chart
Talitha loves sticking things and is fairly obsessed with glitter so we made a weather chart. It’s messy and not carefully planned (I had to ask Laurence what weather I was missing and he incredulously said: “Sunny!” There’s a reason I forgot!) but she got so excited about making it. We used cotton balls for clouds. She coloured in the thunder and I was surprised at how well she stayed inside the lines. Of course, she had to write numerous T’s at the bottom. You can’t put a pen in her hand and not expect that. It’s up on the wall above her little table and each morning we look at the weather then use the chart to describe it.

Snow Learning about the weather with a two-year-old

4. Notice the weather elsewhere
If there are any signs of what the weather is like in books we’re reading, we talk about it and compare it to whatever the weather’s like today. I’m thinking I might show her The Snowman DVD and talk about snow but it feels wrong to show it before Christmas time, so we may wait yet. At any rate, I don’t think she’ll really understand it until she sees it in person. She’s had two snowy winters so far but I’m not sure she remembers them. I’ve been showing her pictures of when it snowed last year. Hopefully, if it does again this year, she won’t hate it quite as much as she did!

There are so many weather crafts and activities on Pinterest (follow me there) and I’m so looking forward to digging into them too. Have you come across anything we’d find useful? Do you have any simple ideas to add?