Get Your Head in The Clouds! How To Identify Cloud Types for Kids

May 1, 2023 / By Rebecca

There’s nothing quite like stretching out on some green grass and just watching the clouds float by. Cloud watching is an awesome activity for slowing down, feeling inspired, learning about natural science, and appreciating the beauty of our world. It’s simply amazing to see all their different shapes, sizes, and colors too! Not only are they mesmerizing to look at, but they’re vital to our planet too. Clouds play a key part in the water cycle, help regulate the Earth’s temperature, give us clues that help us predict the weather, and so much more. 

Have you ever wondered what types of clouds roam our big blue skies and what they might mean for your weather forecast? If so, you’ve come to the right place! With this helpful guide on cloud types you’ll learn how to use your powers of observation to spot the three main types of clouds in no time. 


Cirrus clouds are thin and wispy. They’re considered a high cloud because you’ll find them way up high in the sky, usually above 20,000 feet. These white streamer-like clouds are made up of ice crystals. If you gaze up and see a cirrus cloud, you’re probably having clear weather, but they can also indicate that some rain or other weather change might be on its way. Did you know a cirrus cloud can usually tell you which direction the wind is blowing? Cirrus clouds commonly point in the same direction as the wind!


Cumulus clouds are big, lumpy, and vertical. They might remind you of some fluffy white cotton balls! Cumulus clouds are a low-level cloud, meaning they happen below 6,500 feet. These puffy clouds are made of liquid water droplets, ice crystals, or a mixture of the two. While they usually show up during nice and sunny weather, the weather they bring is based on their height and size. If they grow upward  into a very tall and dense cloud that is bigger at the top than the bottom, that is called a cumulonimbus cloud. A cumulonimbus cloud can produce thunder, lightning, hail, heavy rain, and even tornadoes! 


Stratus clouds are horizontal, smooth, and layered. They usually will cover up most of the sky like a big sheet or blanket. These clouds are the lowest cloud type and can even appear on ground level as fog or mist. Stratus clouds are composed of liquid water droplets and supercooled droplets. When you spot a stratus cloud, that usually means you’re in for a chilly and overcast day. You might even be in for some drizzle or light snow. 

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