I love hands-on learning tools, and when I came across this one I thought it was absolutely brilliant. Several years ago, we had a foster daughter who was in the 5th grade. I remember really well when she had to learn the different types of clouds because I could never seem to get them right when I was trying to help her study. (Good thing I had the answer key and she never knew!) I think this method might even work for me.
This particular cloud identification kit is called a Weather Window, and the company sends you all the materials you need to put it together. I can’t imagine it would be too hard to make your own version with a bit more work, but if you just want it all ready to go, you can order one for about $6.00, 25 for about $35, or 100 for about $130.
Basically, the Weather Window is a frame with the various types of cloud formations on the outside, and an empty space in the center. The whole thing is attached to a handle so that your little meteorologist can hold it up to the sky and compare what he or she sees with the examples on the frame.
This tool can be used not just in identifying clouds, but also in learning about different states of matter and weather prediction. Consider looking into what causes the different types of cloud formations and discussing what that means for the weather. The National Weather Service offers some lesson plan ideas, including this simple experiment (How Much Water is in that Cloud?) that only requires a cotton ball, an eyedropper, and a small cup with water.
We also have cloud coloring pages in our weather coloring pages collection.