What if you could make it snow in the summer? You can! This simple sensory snow takes just minutes to make — and you don’t need gloves to play with it. Want to minimize mess? Dress little ones in swimsuits and put them in the bathtub with a big bowl of the white fluff.
What You'll Need:
- 2 cups baking soda
- 2 cups cornstarch
- Silver glitter
- ½ tsp. peppermint extract
- Rimmed baking sheet
- Squeeze bottle (optional)
- Vinegar (optional)
What You'll Do:
- Kids: For maximum coolness, put the boxes of baking soda and cornstarch in the freezer for an hour or two before you plan to make sensory snow.
- Kids: Mix baking soda, cornstarch and glitter in a large bowl. Stir in peppermint extract to give the snow a fresh, wintery scent.
- Kids: Working very gradually, pour in a little water at a time until you can make a “snowball” that holds together. If the mixture gets too wet, add in more of an equal mixture of baking soda and cornstarch.
- Kids: Pour the snow mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet. Make snowmen, snowballs, and even practice writing letters in the snow.
- Kids: When you’re finished playing with the snow, fill a squeeze bottle with vinegar, if desired. Make a snowball, then squirt the vinegar on top to see what happens!
How Snowflakes Form
You may have heard that no two snowflakes are the same — and that’s true! The question is…why? Before we focus on the differences, let’s look at what all snowflakes have in common.
- They’re all hexagons. Each and every snowflake has six sides, branching out to six “arms.” This shape reflects their molecular structure, which means if you could look at a snowflake under a microscope, you would see lots of tiny hexagons making up its large hexagon shape!
- They each start as a speck of dust or pollen. Snowflakes start to form when moisture in the air crystallizes around a super tiny speck of dust or pollen.
- Snowflakes are minerals. They meet all the criteria to be considered a crystal, which is a mineral. Naturally occurring solid? Check. Definite chemical composition? Yes. Ordered internal structure? Of course.
- Snowflakes grow as they fall. As snowflakes drift to the ground, they collect more moisture from the air that freezes onto the original ice crystal, adding to the pretty hexagonal pattern.
Now, here’s what makes them different…
You know how sometimes when it’s cold it snows? But sometimes you just get rain, freezing rain or even sleet? That’s because the air has invisible layers in it that are different temperatures, with different amounts of liquid in each one. Since every snowflake falls to Earth at a slightly different point and time, each one follows a unique path. Those unique changes in temperature and moisture are what cause snowflakes to form into slightly different patterns.