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How to Read a Thermometer: Free Printable & Craft


How to read a thermometer is a basic skill that unlocks the possibilities of describing the weather for kids. Even in this digital age, the ability to tell the temperature and know what the the numbers represent is essential.

Today we are making a fun practice thermometer so that kids can read the temperature.

How to Read a Thermometer Printable and Practice - Kids Activities Blog - shown is the completed thermometer craft for kids with clear straw, red pipe cleaner and printable pdf
What a fun & easy thermometer craft!

A thermometer is an instrument that measures temperature. It can measure the temperature of a solid such as food, a liquid such as water, or a gas such as air. The three most common units of measurement for temperature are Celsius, Fahrenheit, and kelvin.

National Geographic Encyclopedia

We will be using the Fahrenheit & Celsius scales today for our weather thermometer.

How to Read a Thermometer for Kids

I noticed with my youngest that it can be a little challenging to read a thermometer for two reasons. 

  1. In most curriculums, it is brushed over quickly.  The kids practice telling time, counting money, reading a calendar and measuring with a ruler, but identifying the temperature on a thermometer isn’t top priority.
  2. Thermometers vary, but many only have a few actual number identified and use marks to identify the rest.  Some of these marks are for every degree, but the most popular format is a mark for every two degrees Fahrenheit.

Connect Thermometer Reading Skills to the Real World

The type of thermometer we are learning about today is usually called a weather thermometer and used to monitor outside temperatures or as part of your indoor thermostat that heats/cools your home.

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This is a version of the first thermometer called the Galilean thermometer.

History of the Thermometer

Galileo Galilei invented the first thermometer in 1592 which was a series of sealed glass cylinders that rose and fell depending on the clear liquid’s temperature.

The Fahrenheit scale was invented in 1724 by the Physicist, Daniel Fahrenheit and the Celsius scale (also known as the centigrade scale) was named after the Swedish astronomer, Anders Celsius in 1948 to honor his work on a similar previous scale.

How to Read a Thermometer pdf screenshot  - Printable for Kids from Kids Activities Blog
Download & print your own paper thermometer!

Printable Thermometer Template for Kids

This practice printable thermometer image can be used as a thermometer worksheet for kids. Or follow the instructions below to create your own practice thermometer tool.

Download & Print Printable Paper Thermometer PDF File Here

Make a Practice Thermometer

Here is how we used the printable thermometer image to craft it into something we can use everyday for practice.

How to Read a Thermometer Craft for Kids - Kids Activities Blog - supplies shown: scissors, glue, clear straw, red pipe cleaner, printed pdf
You just need a few simple supplies…

Materials Needed for Practice Thermometer Craft

Instructions to Make Paper Practice Thermometer Craft

Step 1

Print off the thermometer image and cut it out.  Using the glue stick, mat with a piece of left-over scrapbook or construction paper.

Step 2

Cut the straw to the size of the picture and then glue to paper.

Step 3

Cut the pipe cleaner 1/2 inch longer than the straw and insert into the straw.

Step 4

Use the hole punch to create a hanger for the practice thermometer with the ribbon.

Make a Practice Thermometer - Kids Activities Blog - finished craft shown with the words, make a practice thermometer
You now have your own practice thermometer for learning & play!

Learn to Read a Thermometer

Now your thermometer is ready for some fun!

  • Have the child set the temperature at a certain degree.
  • Have the child tell you where to place the temperature and then check if you are right…don’t always be right!
  • Display the thermometer in the kitchen and set it everyday with the current temperature.
  • Chart the temperatures for the week on graph paper.
  • Compare the Celsius and Fahrenheit numbers and look at how they differ.

Check out our telling time games and how to make a compass rose for other basic skill learning fun! We also have other fun science activities for kids as well.

More Easy Science from Kids Activities Blog

Did you learn how to read a thermometer?





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