Cloud in a bottle

Make a cloud in a bottle (quite subtle).
Science content
Chemistry: States of Matter, Properties of Materials (K-7)
Earth/Space: Weather, Seasons, Climate Change (K, 1, 4, 7)
  • Large wide-necked jar
  • Warm water (not hot)
  • Black paper
  • Tape
  • Ice cubes in a plastic bag
  • Matches (not a lighter)

Tape the black paper to the back of the jar to create a dark background. This will make the cloud more visible.
Fill a third of the jar with warm water. If condensation forms on the inside of the jar, tip it up to clear it off with the water.
Light a match, blow it out, wait for a second or two, then drop the smoking match into the jar.
Quickly put the bag of ice on top of the jar, so it forms a cold lid over the opening.
Water vapour rising from the warm water condenses onto the smoke particles, and is visible as swirling clouds.
Lifting the ice bag releases the cloud.

This activity is not too dramatic, but does replicate exactly how a cloud forms. See the dry ice cloud for more dramatic demonstration.


Check Exploratorium activity:
Good video of cloud in a jar:

Grades taught
Gr 2