What do you see in clouds?

Clouds are water droplets that are too light to fall to the ground. They are pushed along by streams of air. They come in many shapes and forms. Some are high in the sky, whiles others are so low they touch the ground. Clouds not only provide rain and snow, they also provide shade on hot days, and act like a blanket in winter, keeping heat from going back out into space.

There are 3 main cloud types. 

  • Cumulus clouds look like cotton balls. The bottoms of these clouds are fairly close to the ground. Cumulus clouds that do not get very tall usually is a sign of good weather. If they grow tall, thunderstorms may form.
  • Stratus clouds look like flat sheets. They may produce a long, steady rain. 
  • Cirrus clouds are high, feathery clouds. Because they are so high, they are made up of ice particles. They are a sign of good weather when they are scattered in a clear blue sky.

Materials: Camera with film or drawing tools, poster board, glue. 


  • Observe and photograph or draw clouds that you see on at least 12 different days.
  • Try to divide the clouds into Cumulus, Stratus, or Cirrus categories.
  • Record the type of weather associated with the clouds: fair, hot/cold, stormy, windy, and more.
  • Watch the weather forecast for each of those days and record the forecast for the next day.

Reflect on these questions:

  • What type of weather was found with each cloud?
  • What direction were most of the clouds moving from?
  • How did the clouds match up to the next day's forecast?
  • Can clouds be used to predict what the weather will be the next day?
Weather: How Do Clouds Form

Clouds come in all shapes and sizes. Some are made of tiny water droplets, others have ice crystals. This video describes how clouds are created.

Everyday Environment: All About Clouds

In All About Clouds, see various types of clouds, including unique clouds only seen in a few locations and what weather is expected with each variety. The Everyday Environment online webinar series, presented by University of Illinois Extension energy and environmental experts, helps individuals...

Summer Insect Pests in the Garden

Summertime is insect time! As our days warm up, so do our insect populations. While most are beneficial, we have a small number of pest insects that plague us every year in the garden and landscape! This week Ken and Chris chat about the most common ones we face every summer.

Skip to...