Hurricane Hands-On Activities (and other Natural Disasters)

Many of us who live on the east coast of the U.S. are bracing for Hurricane Florence. And because of that, many of us are talking with our kids about what a hurricane is and why they can be so damaging. I thought I would share a couple activities we’ve done about hurricanes and share the Natural Disasters Packet again, which is currently free to download! I added in a Hurricane Question page that my daughter is working on this week.

First, what is a hurricane? Hurricanes are massive storm systems that form over warm ocean waters and move toward land. Hurricanes are called tropical cyclones by meteorologists, and actually they are only called hurricanes in certain parts of the world. In the northwest Pacific, they are called typhoons, and in the Indian Ocean they are called cyclones.

What direction does a hurricane spin? The direction of that spin depends on what hemisphere of the world the hurricane is brewing in. In the lower troposphere (near the earth’s surface), winds spiral towards the center of a hurricane in a counterclockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere.  In the Southern Hemisphere hurricanes spin clockwise.  Why? A hurricane’s spin and the spin’s direction is determined by a super-powerful phenomenon called the “Coriolis effect.” It causes the path of fluids — everything from particles in the air to currents in the ocean — to curve as they travel across and over Earth’s surfaces. Here is a NOVA video about the Coriolis Effect.

High Pressure System and Hurricane Florence: Florence is forecast to stall out after the storm makes landfall. The stall is the result of the historic high pressure to the north of storm, refusing to budge and trapping Florence in one location for several days. With such a strong area of high pressure directly to the north of Florence, the storm has no pathway to curve out to sea as many other tropical systems usually do.

Online Hurricane Simulation for Kids: There is a fabulous app that lets kids play around with high pressure systems and the kids can move the high pressure system to the northeast of the U.S. to “trap” the hurricane — just like Florence is forecast to stall!  You can find this online hurricane simulation here:

Hurricane Simulation Online Activity What is the “eye” of the hurricane? The “eye” is a roughly circular area of comparatively light winds and fair weather found at the center of a severe tropical cyclone.

What are spiral bands? Convection in hurricanes is organized into long, narrow rainbands which are oriented in the same direction as the horizontal wind. Because these bands seem to spiral into the center of a tropical cyclone, they are sometimes called “spiral bands”.

We tried to make our own spiral bands with a bowl of water, a spoon and some blue food coloring! Stir the water (counter-clockwise if you are in the Northern Hemisphere, clockwise if you are in the Southern Hemisphere). Drop in some food coloring and watch the bands form!  🙂

Creating spiral bands of a hurricane

What exactly do the numbers on the hurricane mean?

The hurricane in this simulation will either have an L on it, or be labelled with numbers 1 through 5. “L” stands for low pressure, and the numbers are the category of the hurricane:


Wind Speeds

Extent of the Damage

1 74-95 mph Some damage to homes and trees. Power outages could last a few days.
2 96-110 mph Extensive damage to homes. Trees with shallow roots may be uprooted. Power outages could last for several days.
3 111-129 mph Devastating damage to well-built homes. Many trees are snapped or uprooted, blocking roads.
4 130-156 mph Catastrophic damage to homes. Most trees are snapped or uprooted. Power outages will last weeks or months.
5 157 mph or higher Seriously catastrophic damage. Homes are destroyed. The area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.

Source: NOAA National Hurricane Center

What damage can a hurricane cause? Potential threats from hurricanes include powerful winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges, coastal and inland flooding, rip currents, tornadoes, and landslides.

This was an activity that I did with the kids when they were quite little.  🙂

Hurricane-Natural-Disaster Activity-for-Kids

I added a couple of Hurricane Notebook pages with various questions about hurricanes to the Natural Disasters Packet.  My daughter is spending some time this week researching and answering those. There are suggested answer pages provided as well.

These new pages are included in the Natural Disasters Packet:

Hurricane Notebook Pages and Answer SheetsHere are a few more pictures of the Natural Disasters Packet:


There are a couple of natural disaster worksheets as well (one is a matching page, the other is blank so the kids can write in the answer):

Natural-Disaster-WorksheetsClick here to save these Hurricane & Natural Disaster Activities on Pinterest:

Hurricanes and other Natural Disasters Hands-On Activities and Notebook Pages

This packet now comes with our Clouds, Winds & Weather Packet. See more details about that here.

Clouds Winds Weather Worksheets - Packet

You can download the Natural Disasters Unit & Clouds, Winds AND Weather Packet with the link below. Hope it’s helpful!

Clouds Winds Weather Packet and Natural Disasters Packet

Don’t forget to check your PayPal email address for the download link!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions! ~Liesl

$5.99 Clouds, Winds & Weather Packet AND the Natural Disasters Packet  visit post, image 1, image 2, image 3, image 4

Clouds Winds Weather Packet and Natural Disasters Packet Clouds and Weather Packet Weather Packet - Winds, Weather Fronts and moreFloods, mudslides, tsunami, hurricanes, blizzards, drought, wildfires – This packet does not cover earthquakes, volcanoes, plate movement or the ring of fire because we covered that in great detail in our Earth Science Packet. More details of the Natural Disaster Packet here. image 1, image 2

These are included with your purchase:


Hurricane Notebook Pages and Answer Sheets

You may be interested in some of these related packets:

$9.99 Earth Science Unit (175+ pages) – Quick Preview or Visit Post for more details.  See the Earth Science BUNDLE options here.

Earth Science Unit

$6.99 Layers of the Atmosphere Unit (50+ pages) – Quick Preview  or Visit Post or view image to enlarge. See Earth Science BUNDLE options in Our Store.

Layers of the Atmosphere Packet

$7.99 Rocks and Minerals Unit 100+ pages

Rocks and Minerals Packet - worksheets activities and moreDon’t forget to check your PayPal email account for your download link! If you have any questions or problems feel free to email me or check out the FAQ.

See the Earth Science BUNDLE Options here.

Earth Science UnitsEarth Science Bundle of 5

$4.50 Where I Live Activity PacketMy galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, town, and home! Note: This packet has versions for students living in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia and New Zealand. – Quick Preview or visit post or view image

Where I Live Activities - galaxy, solar system, planet, continent, country, state, city or town, home $5.99  Magnetism Packet: Magnets, Magnetic Fields, the Magnetosphere and Animal Migration Quick Preview or Visit Post or View image

Magnetism Unit - Magnets Magnetic Fields Magnetosphere Migration

Hands-On Activities with MagnetsMagnet Unit - the Magnetosphere Magnetic North - Making a Compass

Earth Science Unit: In this unit, we talked about the layers of the Earth, latitude & longitude, tectonic plate movement (and did a couple of great hands-on activities related to that), earthquakes (we made an earthquake shake table), mountain making, volcanoes (we did a couple of fun hands-on activities) and more

Earth-Science-Packet 150 page - worksheets hands-on activities and more Layers of the Earth - Interactive Notebook Activity Earth Science Unit - Layers of the Earth Activities Types of Volcanoes Worksheets - Interactive Notebook PagesLayers of the Atmosphere Packet & Hands-On Activities

Layers of the Atmosphere Packet - Worksheets Hands-On Activities Notebook Pages

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2 Responses

  1. This is wonderful! I shared it on the Magical Homeschool FB page. Stay safe, everyone.

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