Five Minute Science Project: Create a Cloud in a Jar

By Jess Searcy August 21, 2018

Here's a fun weather science experiment anyone can do with five minutes and materials you already have sitting around the house. It's a great way to wow your kids, while pretending that you are as cool as Miss Frizzle (from Magic Schoolbus, yes? LOVE her!).

What You'll Need

  • a shatter proof jar with a lid (a mason jar works well for easy on and off with the lid minus the ring)
  • a few ice cubes
  • half a cup to a cup of hot water
  • aerosol spray (we used a disinfectant, but hair spray or any other type of aerosol will work, just make sure it is something safe to spray in the house)


  1. Heat some water on the stove in a kettle or in the microwave. It does not need to be boiling, just hot.
  2. Pour water into the jar so it is about 1/4th to 1/3rd full.
  3. Put the lid on the jar and place several ice cubes on top.
  4. After about a minute, lift the lid briefly and spritz a short burst of aerosol into the jar and replace lid immediately.
  5. Watch the cloud form in the jar.
  6. Lift the lid and watch the cloud escape from the jar.
  7. Repeat as many times as you like!

What's Happening - The Science

Heating water causes some of the water 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. This is exactly what happens in the atmosphere! What an easy way to teach the water cycle of evaporation and condensation. I don't think I truly understood this process until we did this experiment! Amazing! As an added bonus, it is super fun and easy. The guys wanted to do it over and over again.

Here's a one minute video showing you how to do the experiment easily!

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