5 Minute Science: Create a Cloud in a Jar

Macaroni Family Fun to WOW Your Kids

By Jess Searcy September 23, 2021

Do you need a fun easy to do science activity to wow your kids? How about making a cloud in a jar? Yep! This is a fun weather science experiment anyone can do with five minutes and materials you already have sitting around the house! Creating a cloud in a jar is a great way to excite your kids while pretending that you are as cool - like Miss Frizzle from Magic School Bus, yes? LOVE her!

How to Make a Cloud in a Jar

What You'll Need:

  • A shatterproof jar with a lid - a mason jar works well for easy on and off with the lid, minus the ring - you can also grab an empty food jar from the recycling bin - a sauce jar is perfect
  • A few ice cubes
  • 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water
  • Aerosol spray - something safe like hair spray works - We used a disinfectant


  1. Heat water on the stove in a kettle or in the microwave. It does not need to be boiling, just hot.
  2. Pour the hot water into the jar so the jar is about 1/4 full.
  3. Put the lid on the jar and place several ice cubes on top of the lid - You can make it less messy by putting the ice cubes in a sandwich bag.
  4. After about a minute, lift the lid briefly and spritz a short burst of aerosol into the jar. Replace the lid immediately!
  5. Watch the cloud form, then lift the lid to let the cloud escape from the jar!

What's Happening - The Science Behind the Fun:

  • Heating water causes some of it to evaporate into its gas form. 
  • This water vapor rises and is trapped inside the jar. When it reaches the lid with the ice, it starts to cool. Cooling water vapor causes it to condense, or turn back into its liquid form. 
  • Adding the aerosol spray introduces tiny particles onto which the water vapor may condense, forming a cloud.
  • Guess what? This is exactly what happens in the atmosphere! Making a cloud is an easy way to teach your kids about the water cycle of evaporation and condensation. 
  • And guess what else? I learned too! I don't think I truly understood this process myself until we did this experiment. Amazing! As an added bonus, it is super fun and easy. The kids wanted to do it over and over again.

Jess Searcy, who loves doing science with her kids, is the publisher of Macaroni Kid South Birmingham, Ala.