Often, when we row a Five in a Row (or Before Five in a Row) book, I don’t plan any extra things.  I just do the discussions suggested in the manual.  This is how I intended to row Mr. Gumpy’s Motorcar, but at the last minute, I found I had most things on hand to add in a few weather related practical life activities and science lessons.  Check out the links at the bottom to find out where all the ideas came from.

In Mr. Gumpy’s Motorcar, a girl, a boy, and a wide variety of animals all ask Mr. Gumpy if they can come along for a ride.  Mr. Gumpy agrees, but when a rain shower results in the car getting stuck, will his passengers get out to help?

Practical Life:

Cutting strips with motor cars and clouds.  I made these using Word and clipart.
Pin pricking a cloud shape (drawn on scrap of cardstock)
Spooning “raindrops” (clear flat marbles).

Tonging “clouds” (cotton balls)

Opening umbrellas and sticking them in styrofoam (idea from Counting Coconuts).  Only Bear could do this, as when J-jo tried, the umbrellas were just a tad to fragile for him.

Pouring “rain” (water).

Shaving cream clouds

 Just mix some white glue into the shaving cream.


Poetry basket
I put a print out of the song and these cloud people (found via pinterest) to put out as their names come up in the poem. 

Types of clouds three part cards – and making cloud booklets using cotton balls.


Our favorite was one to the tune of “She’ll be comin’ ’round the mountain when she comes” that teaches the terms evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

Social Studies: 

We had a quick discussion about how the characters had to cooperate and how we could cooperate to help each other in the home.


We observed clouds using our cloud inspector tool (see here),

And then I got tired of taking photos and wanted to live in the moment!
We made a cloud from an ivory soap bar (see links below).

We observed the water cycle in a water bottle that happened to be on the window sill.

We did the raincloud cotton ball demonstration.

We played with cars and compared cars going up ramps and cars going down ramps.  Which was easier?

For a look at Friction, we sprayed some oil spray on our hard wood floor to see if we would slip more than when the oil wasn’t there.  We then discussed why we don’t slip as much on carpet (friction).


Splashing in puddles after a big rain storm.


Painting with a bath scrub to make clouds.  Well, maybe tomorrow….we haven’t gotten to this yet.

Loads of Links:
Water cycle and clouds
Cloud paint and sensory cloud
Cloud People
Weather activities from Counting Coconuts
Cloud Nomenclature Cards
Cloud Dough
Shaving Cream clouds
Ivory Soap Cloud
More cloud cards