We realize that many of you may be navigating a new normal of school closures and remote work, and we want to provide a resource for parents and kids to get access to weather-related curriculum, activities, and entertainment. We will continue to add to this post, so keep checking back.
The internet is saturated with educational information and materials, and we’ve searched a vast number of websites to compile the best free resources available. These are all self-paced and provide lesson plans, printable materials, related links, and interactive tools. They include:
- Jetstream: The National Weather Service’s Online School for Weather: This is just one resource outlined with many others, including The National Severe Storms Laboratory’s Severe Weather 101 and links to tools for teaching about climate and energy.
- GLOBE Weather, an instructional unit from NASA: This five-week curriculum is designed to help middle school students understand weather on a local, regional, and global level.
- Scholastic Weather Courses: Scholastic provides an extensive collection of weather and meteorology learning courses covering topics like storm tracking, air and weather, hurricanes, and more. There’s something for kids of all ages!
- National Geographic Education: Explore a variety of topics and related educational content, from catastrophic weather events to space weather.
- American Meteorological Society: A phenomenal source of education information including raw data, maps, and many links to additional learning materials for kids and adults alike.
- MetEd: A collection of hundreds of training resources for a number of different levels, from professional meteorologists to students interested in geoscience.
- Outschool: Enjoy fun, social, and safe learning experiences—taught by qualified teachers over live video chat. 10,000+ classes on topics like tornadoes vs hurricanes, energy, and lightning.
It’s often easier for kids to learn by doing. These fun activities and experiments help weather concepts come alive. The best part? Most of these can be done with simple ingredients and materials from around your house.
- 20 Activities For Teaching Weather: Make fog in a jar, predict rain with pinecones, create lightning or grow a snowflake with these fun tutorials.
- 5 Extreme Weather Activities: Learn how to make a volcano, create your own barometer, build a structure that can withstand an earthquake, or watch a 3D simulation of a flood.
- Build Your Own Weather Station: How did people predict the weather before scientists developed modern forecasting equipment? This step-by-step guide walks you through creating your own home weather “station.”
- SciJinks: This interactive site from NASA and NOAA teaches kids about the weather, and provides a number of activities that can be adapted for kids of all ages.
- Weather Prediction Experiment: How accurate is the forecast on the news when compared to the conditions where you live? Try this week-long experiment to find out. (You could also try comparing different weather apps to test accuracy.)
Book & Movie Recommendations
A quick survey of WeatherFlow staff revealed several favorite weather-related books and movies, including Fatal Storm, Twister (which inspired one of our meteorologists to pursue that career path at age 15), The Day After Tomorrow, The Perfect Storm, The Lighthouse, and, I’m sad to announce, Sharknado. Here are some other, perhaps more scientifically accurate resources to spend your time on:
- 23 Great Weather Books For Kids: Teaching kids about different types of weather and its causes is a great way to bring earth science to life. This book list features a selection of fiction and nonfiction titles for young readers at different levels.
- Goodreads outlines their most popular meteorology books for adults here and their most popular nonfiction weather books here.
- Amazon counts down the best selling weather-related books for all ages here.
- Netflix has many highly-rated documentaries and series focused on climate and weather events. Choose from titles like Decoding the Weather Machine, Killer Hurricanes, Nature’s Weirdest Events, Into the Inferno, and many more.
- 10 Kids Weather Videos: Here are ten short teacher-approved weather videos to share with your young children (kindergarten-aged) to teach them more about the weather.
- Forecasting: This book series was meant for professional meteorologists but is also helpful for hobbyists and weather geeks.
- Top 10 Best Weather Movies: These vary wildly in seriousness and scientific basis but entertain nonetheless. *Spoiler alert: Sharknado made the cut.
- Weather Documentaries: Browse a long list of fascinating weather and climate documentaries on The Weather Channel.
- Storm Front Freaks Podcast: Hosted by a team of professional and amateur storm enthusiasts, this podcast features a variety of weather industry guests discussing relevant topics.
Our thoughts are with the teachers, students, and families who have found themselves homebound. We hope you’ve discovered something good to read, watch, or listen to. Have a suggestion for something you’d like to add to the list? Find us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know!