Teaching children to be good observers

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Weather observation helps children be alert for changes in their environment and to be prepared. Checking the weather forecast every day on media plus learning weather clues for their own forecast are good ways to nurture awareness. Weather affect s their safety, activities, and clothing choices.

Step outside, stick a leg out, or observe weather through the window. Start asking questions. Is it sunny or cloudy? Will we need to wear sunglasses and hat today? Is the sky really cloudy, partly cloudy, or clear? Are there clouds coming in?

Observe the kinds of clouds. If the clouds are thick like a blanket and it's rather gray, these stratus clouds are holding lots of possible raindrops or snow. It could be a wet or dreary day.

If it's a blue sky with some big white cotton ball cumulous clouds it could be a nice day to play outside. If these clouds are gray or black (cumulonimbus) we could have a storm.

If the sky is clear with just a few high wispy feather cirrus clouds, we probably won't have rain or snow.

Observe trees and flags. Is it really windy, a little breezy, or a calm day? Check out the temperature. Will we need jackets, hats, and mittens today or can we dress for warm weather?

When children observe the weather each morning you can have a good conversation at breakfast and can plan the day and clothing choices together. There are no clothing arguments because there has been discussion about what it's like outside, what we must wear to protect ourselves and be comfortable.

You can teach family safety rules for lightning, storms, and potential frostbite. Explain what causes thunder, lightning, and strong winds to increase alertness and reduce fear.

Children can paint weather pictures to hang on the refrigerator or make a calendar for the week with symbols to show the weather and temperature

as seen in forecasts. Compare your observations and predictions with professionals' forecasts.

How does the family prepare for weather emergencies? What happens if the power and heat are cut off?

Esther Macalady is a former teacher, who lives in Golden, and participates in the Grandparents Teach Too writing group. For more learning tips see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com the wnmufm.org/ podcasts and the website grandparentsteachtoo.org.

Esther Macalady

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