Cloud in a Bag (2 Ways): A Fun Science Experiment

 Water vapor condensing on the sides of the bag

Cloud in a Bag (2 Ways)

We continued our exploration of rain by making a cloud in a bag (two actually).  Water evaporates out of all of earth's bodies of water. It rises into the air and condenses as water droplets in the clouds. When those drops become large enough, they fall the the ground as rain. In the following two experiments, water will condense on the sides of the bags and fall back to the bottom, just like rain! This is a fun way of demonstrating the weather phenomenon of rain.

We actually tried this experiment in two different ways.  In the first method, you will place moist soil and a plant cutting in the bag.  In the second, you will only use water with food coloring.  Both were very fun and worked well.

Soil Version

You will need:

  • zip top plastic bag
  • straw
  • soil
  • plant matter (I used a basil cutting)
  • a spray bottle filled with water
  • masking tape

To make the first cloud in a bag:

Provide the soil and bag to your little one and ask them to fill it about 1/3 of the way full.  Let them spray the soil with plenty of water. You want it to be nice and moist to the touch, but not mud. Add the piece of plant matter into the soil.   We used a cutting from my basil plant. Seal the bag around a straw. Blow air into it. Remove the straw and seal the bag the rest of the way.

This method definitely created more condensation on the sides of the bag for us.  It was also a little like a terrarium, which was fun.  The basil cutting held up for several days before wilting.

condensation forming on the bag with soil and basil

Water and Food Coloring Version

You will need:

  • zip top plastic bag
  • water
  • blue food coloring
  • sharpie
  • masking tape

To make the second version of the cloud in a bag:

First, draw some designs (clouds, birds, kites, etc; you know sky things) on the outside of your bag, if you wish, with the sharpie. Then fill the bag about 1/3ish full with water an a couple of drops of blue food coloring. Close the bag, but try not to squeeze all of the air out. Use the masking tape to tape it up to a sunny window.

For us, the condensation never got substantial enough to create rain with this particular version.  Perhaps if we had chosen a sunnier window it would have worked better.  Little M. really enjoyed poking the bag where the condensation had formed to force the raindrops to fall, however.  We were sitting in the dinning room rooting for the tiny little drops trying to make their way into the ocean.  It was so much fun!

Cloud in a Bag: Easy Science Experiment

For either version, you will need to ignore the experiment and go do something else. The evaporation and condensation takes a bit of time. Check back a couple of times per day.

Don't forget to share and comment! Feedback is always appreciated.

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