The kids are stuck at home, so we made snow! (Not the real stuff)
It’s faux snow, a great STEM activity for elementary school aged kids. Safe, non-toxic and cleans up quickly. Just add water to the powder and poof! it expands before your eyes. And there’s some science to it too!
There are many online recipes to make homemade versions and different options available for purchase. I don’t have time to concoct my own so, we chose Be Amazing! Super Snow Powder! It’s conveniently sold on Amazon and ships free immediately with same day delivery in many areas. And it makes up to 2 gallons of snow! (which was more than enough for my kids to play with multiple times)
What does STEM stand for and why should parents care about it?
S.T.E.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. An educational project-based learning method developed to prepare elementary through high school students for college in the fields of, you guessed it, Science, Tech, Engineering & Math. Instead of traditional learning which consists of reading material from a book and memorizing information, this is project-based learning which teaches through experience. STEM activities aim to provide a hands-on experience which encourage students to ask questions which begin with “Why?” and “How?”.
How is making faux snow a STEM activity?
The powder used in this product is a super absorbent polymer (SAP) (known as sodium polyacrylate or waterlock) It’s the same stuff used in making disposable diapers and ice packs. The sodium gives it the ability to absorb 100 times its weight when you add water. Incredibly, the expanded powder looks and feels like real snow. The transformation from powder to fake snow also makes the experiment great for teaching endothermic and exothermic reactions. But first, let’s talk about polymers.
A polymer is a molecule made up of many smaller molecules called monomers. “Poly” means many, “Mono” means one, “Mer” means unit. So the word polymer means many units. Next, let’s review reactions.
An exothermic reaction is the process of releasing energy into its surroundings. An endothermic reaction is the process of absorbing energy from its surroundings.
The easiest way to demonstrate the reactions is to pour a small amount of the powder in their hands. As you add water, they will feel heat (this is the exothermic reaction, the polymer is releasing energy in the form of heat as it absorbs the water). When they play with the already expanded snow after about 15 minutes, they will feel it’s cool to the touch. This indicates that evaporation has started which is an endothermic reaction.
If your kids would prefer to skip the science class, just get straight to playing with snow!
It was a fabulous new activity both my 5 and 7 year old enjoyed. I highly recommend if you are looking for an out of the ordinary activity which costs less than $11 and can be delivered within a day or so! Check out ur video below for more info and our experience.
For an extra thrill, have the kids freeze it for a few hours!
We used a gallon ziplock bag and stored in the freezer. The faux snow got super cold and felt like the real stuff! Every day for about a week, they retrieved their bags from the freezer and played with it. Once our activity finally ran its course, we tossed it. Our remaining unused powder went to our neighbors who also had a blast experimenting with it.
Clean Up is easy!
We made our snow outside and used a baking sheet beneath the experiment. This made clean up effortless. The faux snow should be disposed in the trash once finished with it. It can also be easily vacuumed.
Looking for other activities? Check out our perfect sugar cookie post for decorating cookies!