Weather at Home - How to Make Your Own Thermometer

During this period of social distancing, many parents can be left scratching their heads trying to find educational things to do with their kids to help pass the time. We're trying to help you out a bit with a series of weather-related activities you can do right at home!

Today, we're going to teach you how to build your own thermometer. The best thing about this is most, if not all of the items necessary to build the thermometer can be found in your home already, so you most likely won't even need to leave the house!

Here are the things you'll need to make your thermometer.
- A clear bottle (a bottle of white vinegar or a 20oz bottle of pop works great)
- A clear straw
- Red food coloring
- Scotch tape
- An index card
- Modeling clay or Play Doh

You'll start by filling the bottle about 75-80% of the way with water. It's important not to fill it to the top! Add your food coloring to the water. Place the straw into the bottle about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way down. From there, wrap the Play Doh around the straw and plug the hole in the bottle. Tape the index card toward the top of the straw. That's it! Your thermometer is ready to go!

You will notice as temperatures warm, the red liquid will rise, as temperatures cool, the liquid will fall in the straw. You'll want to grab a marker or a pen, along with a functioning thermometer, so you can mark your index card when the temperature reaches 60°, 65°, 70°, and so forth.

Did you know that the first attempts to measure temperature took place in the year 170 A.D.? Did you know when the modern-day thermometer was invented? For more fun facts about thermometers, check out our series of graphics below!