Weather sayings, rhymes and lore can be really fun for kids (and adults to learn about. Include some of these as part of nature journalling or as part of making a weather diary for some interesting talks about how people predict weather and if they can be relied upon.
I’m in the UK and these sayings are things we say here, although some of them have made their way to other countries, or we’ve borrowed them ourselves! Many were used by farming communities to help with predicting how crops would fair and when to harvest – I wonder how accurate they were to them?
Weather sayings and rhymes for all year round
Red Sky at Night
Red Sky at night, shepherds delight
red sky in the morning, shepherds warning
I think this is probably one of the most common sayings and one that I hear so often, mostly when we have a stunning sunset. But does it always mean a good weather day for the next day? And does a red sky at sunrise really mean that bad weather is on its way?
Cows lying down
This one doesn’t have a rhyme to go with it but we’ve all heard the one about knowing that it’s going to rain if the cows are laying down. If you ever see some on a walk or drive with your kids then keep an eye out and see if it’s true!
Rain before seven
Rain before seven,
Clear before eleven.
Another one I’ve heard often is that if it’s rainy in the morning it’s often clear by the afternoon. Now I know this one isn’t always true – we do sometimes just have day long days of rain after all, but I wonder if those days actually did have rain before seven? I may have been asleep but f you have early risers this is a great one to test to see how often it comes true.
The higher the clouds, the better the weather
A day with super high clouds will often mean that you’re experiencing good weather – not so much of a prediction this one though!
Monthly weather lore and sayings
Many of these are from a wonderful Enid Blyton book I have called the Book of the Year – it’s an excellent book about the seasons and things to do with kids out in nature. It’s out of print (my copy is from 1948!) but ebay might bring you one!
As the day lengthens, so the cold strengthens.
A good one for kids to test out is whether it gets colder as the days grow longer. Have your kids take the temperature each day and see if it’s getting colder – how long does it last for if the phrase does hold true?
If Candlemas be fair and clear
Ther’ll be two winters in one year
Candlemas day is on 2nd February and it’s one of those proverbs, like so many in this list, that try and predict the future based on that one days weather. It’s said that the hibernating animals wake up, smell the air and decide whether to wake up or not – a more well known version of this is Groundhog day in the US which is on the same day and has the same origins.
If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.
If it comes in like a lamb, it will go out like a lion.
This is a popular saying and one that I hear all the time to this day. Basically this one says that if the weather is bad at the start of the month we’ll have better weather at the end and that the opposite is also true. Definitely one to test out if you’re studyign the weather!
April weather, rain and sunshine both together.
Fairly self explanatory this one – in April we get so much varied weather and often days when we get both rain and sunshine both together. It might be a good one to test and see how often, if at all, it does happen in April.
Button to chin
Till May be in,
Ne’er cast a clout
Till May be out!
I love this one and although I had heard of it often I didn’t quite know what it meant. A clout is a piece of clothing and the proverb is telling us to make sure that we always have our jackets and extra layers until the end of May as it will still be quite cold.
A good leak in June – sets all things in tune
This one is just common sense really – although we’re in summer it’s always good to get some June downfalls so that crops and gardens don’t dry out too much!
St Swithin’s Day if thou be fair,
‘Twill rain for forty days no mair,
St. Swithin’s Day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain!
St Swithin’s day is July the 15th and again we have some specific weather foretelling going on due to a specific days weather – how true will it be? This would be a great one to keep track on over the years I think!
St Bartholomew brings the cold dew
As the summer starts to draw to a close one saying states that on St Bartholomew’s day the cold dew is brought in and with that the cold autumnal feeling. St Bartholomew’s day is August 24th so towards the end of the month – does it feel like a crisp autumn day?
A dark Michaelmas, a light Christmas
St Michael’s day or Michaelmas is on 29th September and there are many phrases and lore about this day. This one states that if the day is dark then we’ll have a lighter Christmas.
Also another phrase, not weather related but nature related is that we’re told not to pick and eat brambles after Michaelmas because the devil might have peed on them (the phrase is slightly different but this is a kid friendly site!)
A hard winter follows a fine St Denis
St Denis’s day is the 9th October so be on the look out for some good weather that day and if it is so then perhaps get buying some extra layers for winter!
If the ice on St Martin’s Day will bear a duck, there will be done that will bear a goose all winter
St Martin’s Day is on the 11th of November and would be a perfect day for a trip to a local pond – will it be iced over and able to hold a duck? I’ve never heard of this one – I’ll have to keep a look out this year!
A long frost before Christmas brings an early Spring
A very cold December with plenty of frosts is supposed to foretell an early Spring.