How to Teach the Importance of Weather to Kindergarten

Kids can learn how to take care of themselves in all kinds of weather.
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In kindergarten, weather is used as a way to introduce young children to the concepts of science. The Common Core goals of teaching weather are to have the children record changes in the weather and recognize the patterns within the weather. These alone are valid goals, but it's also helpful for students to understand more fully why weather is important to them.

Set up a plant experiment to show the delicate balance plants -- and food -- need to grow. Start with a few of the same types of plants that are similar in size and health. Test the response of the plant on having too much or not enough sunlight, as well as having too much or not enough water. The more plants you have, the more varied hypotheses you're able to test. At the conclusion of the experiment, students should understand that plants need both water and sunlight to grow but that too much of each is also not a good thing. Ask students what might happen to a garden if the weather is rainier than usual and how that might affect the food available to them.

Relate weather changes to students' personal care choices. By the time they're in kindergarten, students should be learning to take care of themselves more independently. Part of this is dressing for the weather. With the permission of parents, you might have the students bundle up in winter clothes, including hats, gloves and scarves, and go outside to play in warm weather. Alternatively, let them go outside for a brief time in winter without their jackets. Students learn that if they make bad choices about what to wear, they'll suffer the consequence of being uncomfortable.

Build scientific skills through observation and predictions. This is the ultimate goal of learning about the weather in kindergarten. Every day, have the students observe the weather and chart it on a special weather board. Over the course of the year, students might learn to predict that it gets colder as the months go on, but warmer as the school year comes to a close. When you see a cloudy sky, you can ask the students what they think might happen -- rain, snow or nothing.

Practice safety protocols if necessary. Extreme weather conditions can be scary for young children. If you don't live in an area that experiences things like tornadoes or hurricanes, you might keep discussions about them to a minimum. However, if you do live in an area that might experience this type of weather, it's important to discuss it and tell students how they might stay safe, such as learning where to go when a tornado warning is issued.

Maggie McCormick is a freelance writer. She lived in Japan for three years teaching preschool to young children and currently lives in Honolulu with her family. She received a B.A. in women's studies from Wellesley College.