We recently got the book Barn Storm, which is about a tornado hitting a farm. It lifts up the animals and puts them in all the wrong places! Once the storm is over, it's a very different farm and some of the animals decide they like it in the farmhouse just fine! Drew was fascinated and asked me lots of questions about tornadoes.
So we also checked out Farmer Brown Goes Round and Round from the library. It's a fun rhyming story about a tornado hitting Farmer Brown's farm. The farmer and all his animals are picked up and swirled in the air. When they finally come down, they're all mixed up! Farmer Brown sounds like a rooster and the pigs are mooing! Luckily, another twister comes along and sets things right. Mostly.
We watched some Youtube videos of real tornadoes and then I googled and found a way to make a tornado in a jar on the Science Channel Head Rush site.
Fill a clean 8oz. or larger jar 3/4 full of water.
Add 1 teaspoon each of dish soap and vinegar. As you can see, we were not very exact about the measuring.
Add glitter or food coloring and put the lid on the jar. Swirl the jar and you'll see a vortex form!
The PROBLEM was that the foam shapes floated at the top of our tornado and were hard to see. (You'll only get this many soap bubbles at the top if your four year old decides that shaking the tornado jar is his mission in life.)
Drew got the idea of making the animals out of paper instead of foam so they'd sink instead of float (um, why didn't I think of that??) and it worked perfectly!
There's also a book and tornado jar to check out at Happy Birthday Author!