Blizzard in a Bottle

If you’ve tried my Homemade Lava Lamps, then this activity will seem very familiar, but with a snowy twist, perfect for winter!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Empty water bottle (or any clear bottle)
  • baby oil
  • White paint
  • water
  • funnel
  • Alka Seltzer tablets
  • Glitter (optional, but why not?)img_0331

Add some white paint to some water so that it becomes cloudy.  Mix well.  Fill the bottle a little more than halfway with baby oil.


Add white water to it until it’s about 2-3 inches from the top of the bottle.  Observe the layers.


Add some glitter if you want.


Break one of the Alka Seltzer tablets into 4-5 pieces.  Use caution with young children who might be tempted to put this in their mouths!  It is a cold medication and should not be ingested by children!  IMG_1984

Add one piece to the bottle and watch the magic begin!


Once the Alka Seltzer tablet has completely dissolved, add another one and watch the colored bubbles rise and sink again!  Repeat as many times as you’d like!  You can even try adding some glitter for some extra fun!

This is a twist to my Homemade Lava Lamp activity which is definitely a favorite with my tots and my own kids!

Note: Different “flavors” of Alka Seltzer might create a colored “Blizzard”.  I accidentally used the orange flavored ones and our blizzard turned orange/peach!  The tots still loved it though!

Here are some more fun winter weather related science activities:

The Science behind the Activity:

Water and oil are insoluble, they do not mix.  Water is denser than oil and stays as a separate layer at the bottom of the bottle.  Food coloring is soluble in water so it colors the water but not the oil.  When the Alka Seltzer is added, it forms gas bubbles that rise to the top, “dragging” the colored water along with it.  As the water reaches the top and the gas bubbles pop near the surface of the oil, the denser water falls back down through the oil.  The process keeps repeating itself until the Alka Seltzer has completely dissolved an no longer forms any bubbles.

This activity can be done with adding salt instead of Alka Seltzer (for those of you who are concerned about using medication with kids) but the results are not as good and eventually the salt saturates the water and makes it cloudy.  Let me know if you try it with some other fizzy tablets such as Airborne.  Curious to see if those work just as well.


Homemade “Fake” Snow

Out here in California, we don’t get any snow in the winter, unless you drive up to the mountains.  But what kid doesn’t love playing with snow?  Since going to Tahoe is not an everyday option, we whipped up some “fake” snow to play with in the meantime.  Only TWO ingredients!  Seriously, you have these at home so you can make your snowman today!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Baking soda
  • Shaving Cream
  • Large bin to play in
  • Glitter/Food coloring (optional)


First, we emptied one box of baking soda into the bin.  If using a large bin, you might want to get several boxes of baking soda.

I had the boys touch the baking soda and describe how it felt using their senses.  I even let them take a taste.

Next we added some shaving cream to the bin and then the fun began!


The boys used their hands to squish and mix and this way definitely the favorite part of the activity.  Add enough shaving cream until you have the consistency of fresh, powdery snow!  IMG_0739

Add more shaving cream if you want your snow to be a bit more moldable (so you can make a snowman, of course!) Below is a snowman made by one of the Tiny Tots.  Isn’t it cute?


The boys decided the snow was “boring” without any color so of course, we added some liquid water color.  We ended up with purple snow.


My superheroes tried their hand at making a purple snowman.  Now there’s something you don’t see everyday!


The tiny tots in my class added some silver glitter to white snow.  Isn’t it lovely?


Even my littlest superhero enjoyed exploring the “snow”.

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The Science behind the activity:

This is a great sensory activity to add to any weather or winter unit you might be working on.  It’s also another opportunity to observe changes in materials when they are mixed.  Or for us Californians, this might be the closest we get to snow this winter 😦







Rain in a Bottle

So we got some unexpected late summer rain out here.  When I say rain, I really mean drizzle.  In California where summer rain is rare especially during our drought, there are many happy people out today doing the rain dance!  So, what a great opportunity to show the superheroes how rain really forms.  This is a super easy experiment which pretty much uses ice and water.  No excuses!  Try this!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Clear bottle with a cap (We used a 1L water bottle, but any water bottle will do.)
  • Very warm water
  • Ice cubes
  • Scissors
  • Blue food coloring (optional)


Cut the top third portion of the bottle with scissors.


Add very warm water to the bottom portion of the bottle.  We added 2 drops of blue food coloring to mimic the ocean.  You can see the water evaporating on the sides already.


Invert the top portion and fill it with ice.  Be sure to put the cap on so the cold water doesn’t drip out.


Watch as the water begins to condense on the side.  My 5 year old had already learned this at school and used fancy science terms when I asked him what was going on.  He said, “Mummy, the blue water is evaporating and then dripping down when it gets cold from the ice.  I think it’s called conversation.”  Haha!  I corrected him that it was condensation 🙂


See how easy that was.  And if you don’t have a plastic bottle, just use a clear bowl with a plate of ice on top.  It should still work.

The Science behind the Activity:

The warm water in the bottom begins to evaporate and turn to a gas.  When the gas molecules of water reach the cold ice, they cool down and turn back to liquid water and drip down the side, like rain.  The “foggy” air inside the bottle simulates how clouds form, although they will not form in this experiment.  In the atmosphere, water evaporates from the sea, oceans, land, etc… and condenses when it reaches the colder upper atmosphere.  This condensation causes clouds to form.  When the clouds get heavy enough, the water falls down to earth in the form of precipitation as rain or snow.

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment:

Cloud in a Jar

Want an EASY and FUN way to demonstrate how clouds and rain are related?  Try this experiment with just a few ingredients that I’m sure you have at home!

Here’s what you need to get started:

  • Shaving cream
  • 1 jar filled halfway with water
  • Empty cups for colored water
  • Food coloring
  • Eyedroppers and syringes (we used the ones we have collected over the years that the pharmacies give us and never use)

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Fill the glass halfway with water and add a shaving cream “cloud” on top.  Be sure the shaving cream completely covers the water.

Using the food coloring, make as many cups of colored water as you want.  We used the primary colors to create the 6 rainbow colors.

Using the droppers and syringes, I let the superheroes add colored water to their “clouds”.  IMG_1399 IMG_1398

When the “cloud” was full, the colors started “raining” down into the water.  My older superhero claimed he was creating a “storm”!

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Eventually they added so much water that the shaving cream overflowed out of the jars.  They wanted to do it again and so we repeated it several times.  I swear this kept them busy for over an hour!


The Science behind the Activity:

The shaving cream acts as the cloud and when it gets saturated with water, it seeps through.  Using the colors, you can actually see it “rain” just as real clouds send rain down when they get full of moisture.

Follow this link to see where I got the idea from and more details about the experiment: