Do Clouds Have Names?

Unless it’s a perfectly sunny day, there will always be some clouds in the sky? Clouds are collections of drops of water all bunched together in the sky. If a cloud gets too much water in it, it lets some of the water drop out, causing rain. Did you know that weathermen have special names for clouds? There is a special naming system for clouds that you can learn. Let’s try!

  • Cloud pictures
  • Your eyes
  • Pen and paper
  • Cumulus
  • Stratus
  • Cirrus
  • Nimbus

Go outside every day for a week to observe what kinds of clouds you see. Using the Cloud Chart above write down the cloud types that you see in the sky. Record if it rains on one of the days or if it’s a nice day outside to see which clouds are seen on what kind of day.

Clouds are named for their shape and how high they are in the sky. This list below will help you figure out what the cloud shapes mean:

  • “Cumulus” means “heap” or clouds that are piled up and tall.
  • “Stratus” means “layer” or clouds that forms streaks or layers because of windy weather up where the clouds are.
  • “Cirrus” means “curl of hair” or the wispy hair-like clouds you see on a really nice day.
  • “Nimbus” means “rain” or when you see a dark blob of rain clouds.
  • Cirrus clouds are usually very high in the sky and are seen in good weather.
  • “Alto” means a cloud in the middle of the sky—not too high and not too low. An “altostratus cloud” is a stratus cloud in the middle of the sky.
  • Cumulus clouds can get so tall the water in them is so heavy, that it falls out of the sky as rain. A rainy cumulus cloud is called a “cumulo-nimbus” cloud.

Point out the names of clouds and what they mean whenever you see them. There are actually other types of clouds that haven’t been discussed; however, they are less commonly seen.

It is easy to develop an interest in science among young kids. At ScienceWithMe!® we encourage you to start right now! How?? Have your kids do our fun experiments. To keep learning check out 19 Fun Science Experiments Every Parent Should do with Their Child!