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)

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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!

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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?

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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.

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

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

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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)

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Cut the top third portion of the bottle with scissors.

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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.

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

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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 🙂

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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:http://msdsgarden.blogspot.com/2010/05/making-rain.html

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!

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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: http://www.teachpreschool.org/2012/03/clouds-in-jars-and-on-the-table-top-too/