Science with Snowmen: Winter Science Experiment
Is it snowing where you live? Even if you don’t have snow, you can do this simple, fun winter science experiment! You’ll also find links to even more articles (at the very bottom of this article) with even more ideas and activities related to snow. Some are appropriate for folks (like me) who don’t get snow, and some are for you folks who live where it does snow.
Since we live in Florida, it’s extremely unusual for us to get snow! And when we do, it’s usually just a few flurries. Even when we get a few snow flurries, they melt really quickly, so we don’t really get to make a snowman or have a snowball fight. But on the rare occasion that it happens, my kids and I bundle up and watch in amazement. If we want to do any science with snowmen, though, we know it has to be with homemade snow!
If like my family, you don’t have the chance to build a “real” snowman, your kids will be super excited about this project! In fact, they’ll probably love it even if you do live where it snows!
It’s not only a fun way to build a snowman, but it’s also a really fun way to demonstrate the acid-base chemical reaction between baking soda and vinegar. You make the “snow” with baking soda clay and then “melt” the snowman with vinegar. It’s lots of fun!
The video below is a quick overview of how to do it, but I’ve also included a typed tutorial and printable instructions to make it easier for you to do it with your own children. (The recipe in the video is a little different than mine. Either one should work, but my recipe makes a larger batch of baking soda clay.) Have fun and enjoy your snowman science!
snowman accessories (I cut mine from scrap felt, but you could also use construction paper and paint as they do in the video.)
Baking soda clay recipe:
- 1 box (2 cups) baking soda
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap
- 1/4 cup water
First, mix up your baking soda clay in a bowl. Add baking soda and salt and mix well. Add the dish soap and mix well. The mix will be slightly lumpy and very crumbly. Slowly add in water, about a tablespoon at a time, and mix very well. You don’t want it to be too wet! Once it can form a ball it will be done. Note: this will NOT feel like playdough!
Next, build your snowman! (Or your snowmen. You may want to double or triple the recipe to have enough to make two or three.) You’ll want to build it in a tray or pan so that when you “melt” the snowman it will be contained.
The clay is pretty delicate, so very young children may need help building the snowman. Older kids and kids with more patience should be able to handle it. 😉
Once the snowman was built, I had my girls accessorize it. And then came the fun part…when we slowly poured vinegar over our snowman and watched as it melted away!
My kids LOVED this project. I know yours will too!
The Science Behind Your Melting Snowman Winter Science Experiment
If you have children who are mid-to-upper elementary ages through high school, you may want to dig into the science behind this melting snowman winter science experiment! (Yes, chemistry can be fun!) I didn’t get into the chemistry with my kids because they are very young, but there are some resources you can use if your kids are older and this is something you want to talk about as part of your experiment. ThoughtCo. has a great article about the reaction between baking soda and vinegar.
Or your kids might enjoy watching the YouTube video below. In it, the scientist explains a bit about why baking soda and vinegar react (VERY basic for young children) and demonstrates how baking soda and vinegar, when mixed, can blow up a balloon. He also explains a little about what makes a true science experiment and about the scientific method. For more information about the scientific method and some printable worksheets to use for your own science experiment, check out our Learning About the Scientific Method worksheets.
More Baking Soda and Vinegar Experiments and Activities
And if your kids enjoyed this experiment, you might want to do even more baking soda and vinegar projects.
- Fun at Home with Kids has an article explaining how to get the best baking soda and vinegar reaction.
- Science Sparks shares 10 amazing baking soda experiments including a baking soda rocket, fizzy paint, and more. You’ll also find a very basic explanation of why baking and soda react the way they do.
- On Kid Minds, you’ll find 7 classic baking soda and vinegar experiments including dancing rice and frozen fizzies.
Books Your Children Might Enjoy
For more snow-related studies, check out these articles!
Lindsey is a modern homesteader and homeschooling mama of two. Together with her family she lives in North Florida on 1/3 of an acre where they garden, raise chickens and turkeys, do lots of DIY, make a ton from scratch – and include natural learning experiences along the way. Find her on Instagram.