Rain for dummies…………


We all know that rain comes from clouds. Too much you get the flooding that is happening in Houston right now. Too little, and you get devastating fires that cover thousands of acres across the West.

We were driving to school the other day, it was raining a little, and my kids asked me where rain comes from. I could have said it was tears from heaven, thunder is angels bowling, and there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  There are a ton of rainbows (if they can be weighed) here in Maui. Been looking for the gold but no luck so far.

But I didn’t. I gave them what I knew. Basically nothing, other than they came from clouds. So when I got home, I wanted to know so I wouldn’t look dumb if they asked me again.

Here is what you can tell kids if they ask. If you don’t care, then just watch the video barefoot, and enjoy.

The process starts as evaporation. This is the same process you use to get distilled water. Water evaporates, leaving any solids or impurities behind, and becomes a gas which rises above the earth’s surface. An example is ocean water. The salt is left behind. When it reaches a certain height, the gas cools and forms water droplets. Those droplets bump together until about a million of them bond, then they become a water droplet.

This is called condensation. When they reach a certain size and weight, gravity pulls them down to earth as rain, snow, or hail. Depending on the cloud size and density, it will determine how many droplets will fall.

This is called precipitation. This is the third cycle of rainfall, and what we experience as rain. As the rain falls, it collects in ponds, lakes, rivers, and oceans.

This is called collection. And it is here that the whole cycle starts all over again.

Just remember evaporation, condensation, precipitation, and collection. If you can’t remember those four words, then keep your mouth shut.

Now you know what to say to a kid, so you won’t sound so dumb. If they start to ask harder questions about it, just pretend you are deaf like I do. Or turn up the radio real loud and tell them it’s your favorite song. But I can only listen to Despacito so many times.

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of the wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach”.  Henry Beston.

One Reply to “Rain for dummies…………”

  1. Well, I’ve been to the desert on a horse with no name and it felt good to get out of the rain………….if I gave my kids that explanation when they were still able to learn something (pre-puberty) their heads would have exploded! Now, they’re a lost cause. GOP’ers at that. I was told that God was bowling and I believe that there is so much rain because God is crying at the state of the world that he created for us and how each of us has contributed to its abuse. That would not have any bearing on the non-believers, but it is what it is, to whom ever chooses it. I guess I think it’s wonderful that your children are interested in science. You are doing something right. Keep it up! I never ever thought I would read the words that are coming out of your fingers!!!! 🙂

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