Snow is a magical substance that thrills most children from their heads to their toes. But not all kids have access to snow during the winter season. Children can still experience snow by making and playing with fake snow. But what fake snow recipe is the best snow recipe?
In this snow STEM experiment, fake snow recipes are tested to determine the most snow-like recipe so kids can experience snow all year long.
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Pencil and paper
The Science of Snow
Real snow is more than just frozen water. Snow forms when the atmosphere is at or below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit), but snow doesn’t always form every time it’s freezing outside. There must be a certain amount of moisture in the air to make snow. Most snow falls when it is about 15 degrees Fahrenheit and warmer.
Snow crystals form when ice particles cling together combined with air. This makes a sort of “puffed ice” that turns into snowflakes. The more wind is in the air, the smaller the snowflakes will be as the air breaks apart the delicate structures. Snowflakes can be as large as 2 inches across, but usually are no larger than half an inch across.
Snow itself has unique characteristics. It is wet (although it can feel dry), makes a crunching sound when stepped on, and can usually be packed into a ball.
Learn more about the science of snow with these blog posts:
Fake Snow STEM Experiment
In this experiment, we tested 3 fake snow recipes. Feel free to add more recipes for an even more accurate test. Make a list of the properties of each type of snow as you conduct your experiments to determine which snow recipe is the most authentic.
Recipe 1: Instant Fake Snow
Instant fake snow is made up of synthetic polymers that are highly absorbent. These polymers are also found in disposable diapers.
Snow is formed by added water to the powder until the powder no longer expands. When fully expanded, the snow has a fluffy, snow-like appearance, but there is no crunch and it cannot be formed into snowballs.
Recipe 2: Paper Snow
Paper snow is made by mixing small pieces of paper towels with baking soda and some vinegar.
Tear the paper towels into tiny pieces. Mix with baking soda. Add just enough vinegar to transform the mixture into a snow-like substance. The vinegar makes the baking soda fizz, giving it a slightly fluffy appearance.
This recipe has the “crunch” of snow and can be formed into a ball.
Recipe 3: Baking Soda Snow
This snow recipe is simply made of baking soda and water. Add just enough water to baking soda to form a snowball shape that crumbles when squeezed.
This recipe has the most “crunch” factor similar to snow, but it’s rough texture prevents it from feeling as snow-like as some other recipes.
Snow STEM Experiment Results
We created a simple table to record the characteristics of each type of fake snow. You can create a table of your own and maybe add a column with the characteristics of real snow. Compare and contrast the characteristics of all the types of snow.
In our snow experiment, we felt that the baking soda and paper snow felt the most authentic. Experiment with other fake snow recipes to find your favorite!