There are many science experiments that create instant snow from the comfort of your own home, but this one is the easiest and feels the most realistic because it is actually cold! Let’s learn How to Make Instant Snow.
Find more simple and awesome Weather experiments for kids right here!
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This experiment is so easy to do and only takes 2 household ingredients to create endless snowy fun for the kids (and adults like me). There is also an optional, sizzling twist to this experiment with just a couple of extra materials.
How to Make Instant Snow
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What You Need:
Optional for after snow fun:
- Pour 4 cups of frozen baking soda into a large mixing bowl
- Slowly add cold water while mixing to a snowy consistency
- Play with your “snow” and see if you can make a snowman
Step 1:Get the baking soda out of the freezer and mix it into the bowl
If you really want your “snow” to feel like you just brought it inside from a freezing cold arctic blizzard, then you will want to put your box of baking soda in the freezer an hour or two ahead of time.
For those of you who prefer more of a warm tropical snow (which doesn’t actually exist in the weather world) then you can skip the freezer and just cut right to the chase in making warm, fluffy, magical snow!
I personally prefer the cold “realistic snow” method, so I went ahead and chilled my baking soda for a couple of hours before mixing it into the bowl. Either way, you will want to add about 4 cups of baking soda to your large bowl.
Step 2: Slowly add cold water and mix until you get perfect snow
Now its time to make the magic happen and slowly mix very cold water into the baking soda. Again, the colder your water is, the more realistic your “snow” will feel, but you can make the snow as warm as you want it and it will still be a good consistency for that perfect snowman or snowball fight!
The amount of water you add to the baking soda will also determine if you have a wet or powdery snow. Just like in the wonderful world of weather, the more water content that the snow has, the wetter and slushier it will be.
Take your time pouring the water into your “snow” while you either use a spoon or your hands to mix the snow to your desired consistency.
As the baking soda begins to absorb the water you will soon be ready for endless fun playing in the snow from the warmth of your home… without the daunting task of getting your kids all bundled up for this snow!
Step 3: It’s time to play with your snow!
Now comes the fun part of playing in your freshly made snow! One of my favorite things to do is to of course make a snowball and then a snowman.
The kids might even enjoy decorating the snowman with candy for eyes, a nose, and all that other fun stuff.
Optional Extra Sizzling Fun
Once you and your little ones have worn yourselves out playing in the snow and building some winter wonderland creations, fill a spray bottle with some vinegar to add a little “summer heat” to the mix and see what happens.
I also like to add a drop or two of food coloring to the vinegar. This will turn your snowman into whatever color you choose when you spray the vinegar onto it.
As the vinegar reacts to your baking soda it will begin to fizz and to foam. This is the same reaction that occurs in any baking soda and vinegar experiment, but you can use this to make it look like your snowman is melting in the sunshine.
How Does Snow Form?
Snow forms and falls to the ground when the air in the atmosphere remains cold enough to keep snow from melting from the clouds all the way to the ground.
A snowflake begins at the top of a cloud where it is well below freezing. Ice crystals stick together and form snowflakes. As the snowflakes fall, they will remain as snow unless they pass through a layer of air that is above freezing for long enough to melt the snow.
How Cold Does it Have to be to Snow?
In order for snow to actually stick to the ground when it falls, the temperature needs to be at or below 32°F (which is the freezing point). If the temperature is warmer than 32°F on the ground it can still snow if the air above the ground is cold enough, but the snow will melt quickly once it hits the ground.
What is the Highest Temperature it Can Snow at?
Believe it or not, snow can and does fall through the air when temperatures are as warm as 50°F! This is possible when you have a very shallow layer of above-freezing air at the surface, but the rest of the path of the snowflake high in the atmosphere remains below freezing.
This is because a snowflake needs to pass through about 1,000 feet of above-freezing air to melt. If temperatures are well below freezing before they reach the temperatures that are above freezing they won’t have time to melt until they hit the ground.
Can it be too Cold to Snow?
A very common myth is that if it is too cold, then it can’t snow. This is simply not true, however, it is much less likely to snow once temperatures drop below about -10°F (-20°C).
The reason that it becomes difficult for snow to occur at such cold temperatures has more to do with the amount of moisture in the air than it does the temperature. In order for snow to form you need moisture, and very cold air is not able to hold much moisture.
That being said, it is still possible, but fairly rare to get snow even in the coldest (-40°F or below) temperatures if the atmospheric conditions are just right.
An example of this would be if it was very cold at the ground level, but you had relatively warmer air that is still below freezing aloft. This warmer air above the ground would have enough moisture to create snow that could fall into the very cold and dry air below.
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