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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 07/ 2/2009

Weather Makes for Summer Fun With Kids

By Steve Tracton

* Full Forecast Through the July 4th Weekend *

Billy and Maria are characters featured in the National Severe Storm Laboratory's downloadable coloring books for children.

School's out for the summer, so what to do with the kids? Be it day camp, day care, a library program or a family trip to the beach, there's bound to be more downtime for both the kids, parents and/or of caregivers than during the school year. In my younger years -- back in the Stone Age of technology -- there were no cable channels for kids, computers and Internet, video games, cell phones, IPods, etc. Suffice to say, back then my sister and I were not atypical in driving our parents crazy in their attempts to keep us from succumbing to boredom wipeout.

But that was then, this is now. For kids lucky enough to have parents and/or care givers who consider themselves weather weenies -- or even those just casually interested in weather -- there are an amazing number of weather-related, Internet-accessible and interactive games, activities, projects, puzzles and more that are sure to provide kids, and those who remain kids at heart, with valuable hours of entertainment and education.

Here's a partial list of resources, some of which I've used with my own grandkids, nieces, nephews and other youngsters:

Keep reading for a list of weather-related resources or kids...

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers a large number of games, cartoons, coloring books and puzzles for kids and families centered on weather and weather hazards, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

Also in line with the summertime weather hazards are these projects and games related to hurricanes and tornadoes galore. Want to make a tornado at home? Try out the relatively simple approach here.The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research's Web Weather for Kids site has a somewhat more sophisticated tornado-making project. While you're at it, try your hand at creating lightning.

Weather Wiz Kids is a great site with more home weather experiments, including instructions for making your own weather instruments.

The Weather Channel has an expansive array of activities, video weather clips, educational material and games. Or, learn how to observe and predict the weather at Edheads Weather.

The National Weather Service provides a lot of fun stuff at and . My granddaughter (age 5) especially likes the National Severe Storms Laboratory's downloadable coloring books. How about musical meteorology? Song lyrics can be a a great way for kids to learn about weather.

Want to control the weather by, for example, making a blizzard complete with a whiteout? Then this is for you. Or you can create an aurora by launching particles off the sun and toward Earth, one of several Space Weather Center activities.

Also, explore Earth and its weather with your research blimp in NASA's Wild Weather Adventure game.

Finally, but maybe just for older kids and adults, there is the Discovery Channel's virtual storm chase, which simulates the thrill that only storm chasing can provide.

By Steve Tracton  | July 2, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  Education, Tracton  
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