Rainy Day Kid’s STEAM Activity

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Staying home is a lot harder on rainy days. Luckily, you can use the rain to do some simple science experiments with your little ones! Here you’ll learn how to make a very easy rain gauge to measure your day’s rainfall. We’ll also explore how food coloring gets diluted in rainwater.


To make your rain gauge, you’ll need:

  • A jar (glass works best, plastic blows away)
  • A ruler
  • A pen or permanent marker
  • Masking tape
  • Clear tape

materials for STEAM rain activity

Using the ruler, write measurements on a piece of masking tape and stick it on the side of your jar, making sure the bottom of the tape is at the very bottom of the jar. Cover the masking tape with clear tape, especially along the top of the jar. Place the jar outside a window where rain will fall into it. Be sure not to put it under something that could block the rain, like your eaves or a tree.

empty jar for measure rainfall

At the end of the day, see how much rain has fallen!

full jar after measuring rainfall

You could use this jar everytime it rains and create a chart depicting how much rainfall occurs on different days.

chart for measuring rainfall

This food coloring experiment is even simpler. You’ll need:

  • Multiple small jars (again, glass works best so they don’t blow away)
  • Liquid food coloring

tools to add color to rainwater

Drop food coloring into the jars. There are multiple things you could explore here. You could put different amounts of food coloring into each jar to see how the quantity of dye affects the color of the water. Or you could explore how primary colors mix to create secondary colors by putting drops of different dyes in a jar together.

Place the jars outside a window, again in an unobscured area. Watch what happens as rainwater mixes with the dye. Did the color stay as dark as when you first dropped in the food coloring? Did colors mix together?

No matter what area of learning you choose to focus on, experimenting with the rain can take a gloomy day and turn it into something fun! Or at least it can give you something new to look at out your window.

collecting rainwater

To learn more about the rain, check out some of these great nonfiction titles on Hoopla. (They all have incredibly creative titles.)

Rain by Alice K. Flanagan

Rain by Grace Hansen

Rain by Ann Herriges


Or read some stories about the rain. Here are a few ideas available on Overdrive or Libby!

Rain Fish by Lois Ehlert

Katie Woo: Too Much Rain by Fran Manushkin

Elmer and the Rainbow by David McKee

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