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Instant Snow! - Winter Chemistry Activity

Posted on Mon, Dec 12, 2022

Winter Chemistry Activity: Instant Snow!

Winter Chemistry Activity: Instant Snow!

“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.” 

– Aristotle

Whether you’re up north, where snow piles up for months, or down south, where snowfall is rare, kids are fascinated by snow! As educators, we love it too: it’s chemistry happening right before our eyes! But do you know how it works?

Bring the snow into your classroom and learn how it forms this Winter by creating it with this simple and easy chemistry project. 

What children don’t see in Disney’s hit movie Frozen is how Queen Elsa forms all the snow she creates in Arendelle...

The snow we can sometimes see falling outside forms in the clouds when water vapor freezes before it can turn into water or rain. The clouds have to be very cold for this to happen, but when it does, snowflakes are created by crystals of ice growing around tiny particles of dust in the clouds. The snowflakes start very small and grow and grow! A snowflake can contain up to 200 crystals, and every snowflake is one-of-a-kind and unique! The water molecules chemically bond in a hexagonal shape which helps give the snowflake its form. The ice grows faster near the outer edges of the prism, and six branches sprout from the corners of the hexagon, creating the classic snowflake shape we all love. As temperatures get colder, the branches grow and expand, creating bigger and even more unique snowflakes. The changing temperatures and hexagonal bonding pattern of H2O create the unique shapes of snowflakes we love to look at.

(Image from Playing with Rain)

Easy Instant Snow

What You’ll Need

  • Iodized salt
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Baking sheets/large plates
  • Fork


What’ll You’ll Do

  1. Pour 2 cups of salt into your mixing bowl.
  2. Add a teaspoon of cold water to the salt and mix with a fork. Add a little more cold water if needed (Do not add too much as salt will dissolve in a lot of water). 
  3. Continue stirring with a fork to fluff up the mixture. When it becomes fluffy, enjoy your homemade snow!
  4. Challenge students to build snowmen, igloos, ice castles, and more!
  5. To clean up, wipe up with a wet rag. 

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Topics: hands on science activities, Educational Trends, Hands On Science, DIY, STEAM Activity, Winter