Wondering how to explore science in winter with your students? Check out these science-based winter activities for kids!

1. Make Frozen Crayons

If you’re looking for fun ice experiments for kids, this activity is a wonderful way to explore art and winter science. It would be a good idea for you to try this activity once before doing it with your students, so you know how much food coloring is needed for the colors to remain visible when dry.

Materials:

  • Water
  • Food Coloring
  • Ice Cube Trays
  • Tray or Large Cake Pan
  • Mittens, Gloves, or Washcloths (optional)
  • Sponges or Towels (for cleanup)
  • White Construction Paper

What to Do:

  1. Using water colored with food coloring, fill the ice cube trays and place them in the freezer. Remember to use a variety of colors!
  2. Pop the ice cubes out onto a tray or large cake pan. Say to the children, “Let’s pretend that instead of ice cubes, these are frozen crayons. What do you think will happen if we draw with them? What do you think our fingers will feel like? I wonder what kind of marks they will make.”
  3. Give each child two or three of the colored ice cubes. Let the children slide the cubes around on the paper. Encourage children to talk about what they see. You can also talk about what is happening: “Is the water the same color as the ice cube? Do you notice the new colors that are appearing?” Consider giving children gloves or washcloths to use to hold the ice cubes if their fingers get too cold. 
  4. Talk with children about how the ice feels and how it changes the way the paper feels. After the cubes melt or the children’s hands get too cold, set the papers aside to dry. 
  5. Talk with the children about how they think their papers will change as they dry. Ask, “What do you think will happen to the colors?”
  6. When the papers are dry, talk with your students about what they see. 

Source: The Preschool Scientist

2. Make Frozen Balloon Sculptures

As one of the three winter science activities featured in this blog post, the frozen balloon sculptures activity allows children to explore how ice is formed and how it turns back into a liquid. If it’s cold where you live, you can also choose to leave the balloons outside to freeze instead of putting them in a freezer. Please ensure that no children have latex allergies before proceeding with this activity. 

Materials:

  • Small Balloons
  • Freezer
  • Funnels
  • Pipe Cleaners (wrap the sharp ends with tape)
  • Pitchers
  • Rubber Bands
  • String
  • Towels
  • Trays or Dishpans
  • Water
  • Yarn

What to Do:

  1. Help students use funnels to fill balloons with water. (Be careful of the water pressure from the faucet, and don’t make the balloons too full!) Tie the balloons closed. Let students use yarn, string, rubber bands, pipe cleaners, and anything else they can think of to change the shapes of the balloons. Consider having students do this portion of the activity over dishpans or trays to help contain any spills or leaks. 
  2. When each child finishes “sculpting” a balloon, label them with the child’s names and place all the balloons in a freezer. Ask children, “What do you think will happen to your balloon sculptures?” Write down children’s ideas on a chart or whiteboard. 
  3. When the water in the balloons freezes, take the balloons out of the freezer and return them to the children. Help them remove the balloons and other materials to expose the piece of ice. Talk with children about the fact that water, a liquid, is now ice, a solid. It now has a definite shape. Ask, “Will this water fit in a bottle now?”
  4. Ask students to draw their ice shapes in their science journals and label them. Provide help as needed. Ask, “What will happen to the ice when it warms in the air? Will it keep its shape?”
  5. Place the children’s sculptures in dishpans so the children can watch and see what happens to the ice over time. 

Source: The Preschool Scientist 

3. Study Snowflakes

Capturing and making snowflakes is only one of the snow science experiments you can do with your students. Before the activity, you should make a sample snowflake from a white circle of paper. You also need to search the Internet for images of snowflakes you can show children. 

Materials:

What to Do:

  1. On a snowy day, give the children sheets of black paper or felt, take the children outside, and encourage them to try catching snowflakes on their paper or felt.
  2. After the children collect snowflakes, set out magnifiers and a microscope and invite the children to look at the snowflakes. Encourage them to describe what they see. Explain that objects with six sides, such as snowflakes, are called hexagons. Remind children to look closely at their snowflakes in order to remember what they look like. 
  3. Bring the children inside. Show them the images of snowflakes you downloaded before they arrived and the snowflake you cut out. Ask the children to describe the similarities and the differences they see between the pictures, the cutout, and the snowflakes they caught outside. 
  4. Set out several sheets of white paper, and help the children make paper snowflakes. 

Paper Snowflake Instructions:

  1. Select a paper that folds easily. Trace a circle on the paper (use a two-pound coffee can as a guide).
  2. Cut out the circle using child-safe scissors. 
  3. Fold the circle shape in half. Fold the half circle in thirds.
  4. Use child-safe scissors to make cutouts on the side of the paper. 
  5. Unfold the paper to see your six-sided snowflake.  

Source: Science Adventures

Another way you can do snow experiments is by making your own snow. Our Super Snow Bucket allows you to create snow by simply adding a tablespoon of the Super Snow powder to a quart of water and stirring. The 1.5-pound bucket makes over 15 gallons of snow! 

Want more winter activities? Learn how you can explore weather during winter, discover winter activities for preschoolers, celebrate the winter season, and more on the Kaplan Blog and in our Insights and Inspirations section.