Classroom Snow Day Activities
Let’s Call a Snow Day! I can remember as a kid having my Mom turn up the radio in the kitchen while we were eating breakfast to listen so intently just waiting for them to announce our school was having a SNOW DAY! Snow Days are so much fun – who doesn’t love an unexpected day off that is full of possibilities and piles and piles of that cold white fluffy stuff! Whether you live somewhere that doesn’t get snow or you would just like a fun day for the kids at school – I have a bunch of fun snow day activities that will ensure that it’s a day that they won’t forget!
20+ SNOW DAY ACTIVITIES
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You can use snow and snow related activities to fill every corner of your curriculum. Whether you live where there are long, cold snowy winters, or you never see snow. You can still declare a snow day! So let’s do it – declare a snow day with your students and wrap everything around snow!
INDOOR SNOW DAY ACTIVITIES
First let’s look at some indoor activities with a snow theme.
MATH – SNOW SYMMETRY
Let’s start with Math and Symmetry! Did you know that every snowflake is symmetrical? Something that is symmetrical is the same on both sides. Humans are generally symmetrical too. If you drew a line down the center of a person they would have an eye on each side, an ear on each side, an arm, a leg and so on. Snowflakes have even more symmetry than that, they have what is called 6 sided rotational symmetry. This means that no matter which way you turn a snowflake it will be perfectly symmetrical! Each of its 6 arms have exactly the same pattern, but snowflakes are all unique as well meaning you won’t find two alike. You can use shape blocks, cut outs or cotton swabs to practice making symmetrical snowflakes with your students.
Another fun way to practice symmetry is to make some good old fashioned paper snowflakes! All you need for this is some paper and scissors. Have your students square off a piece of paper by folding one corner down to the opposite side and cutting off the remaining rectangle piece. From there fold the paper in half three more times – each fold should make your triangle half its size. To make a rounded snowflake, simply cut a curve shape opposite the point. Then have the students cut various shapes out of that triangle. Remind them that they need to leave parts of the fold intact to keep the snowflake together. Once the students are happy with their cuts, they just need to unfold it – those ooooohhhs and aaaahhhhhhs are so much fun!!
SCIENCE – BORAX CRYSTAL SNOWFLAKES
Now let’s do some gorgeous snow day science and explore crystal formation. Do this by making some borax crystal snowflakes!
This is a really fun and visual experiment. I recommend working on this first thing in the morning so you can watch some of the process throughout the day.
NOTE: If you do not wish to use Borax, try making Alum Crystals instead.
For this experiment you will need:
Clear Glass Jars
A Pencil or Chopstick
Pro Tip! Learn the secret to making supersized crystals here.
We want to create a supersaturated solution of borax and water. A supersaturated solution means that there is more solute or in our case Borax than can be dissolved so the solution is overrun with the Borax powder. The golden ratio we are looking for is 2:1 which means that we need twice as much water as borax. You can adjust your amounts according to how many students you are working with. I am using a solution of 3 cups of water to 1 ½ cups of borax.
To make the solution, bring water to a boil. Turn off the heat and add the borax. Stir gently until most of the powder is dissolved. Don’t be concerned if it doesn’t all dissolve, that is what we want.
Next, form a snowflake out of pipe cleaners. I always like to choose colorful pipe cleaners so the students can really see the crystals. Connect a string to the snowflake and wrap it around the pencil so that you can suspend the snowflake in your borax solution without it touching the sides of the jar. Fill the jar with the solution. Then simply leave it for about 24 hours.
Hot water has more “spaces” for the borax to go and dissolve. We learned about how energy affects states of matter in the What is Matter? article. As the water cools those spaces become smaller and the borax will begin to adhere to the pipe cleaners and form crystals. Leave the jars overnight for the full effect – a beautiful crystallized snowflake.
MELTING MAGIC ~ SNOW AND ICE SIMPLE SCIENCE
Another great snowy science experiment is the Melting Magic ~ Snow and Ice Simple Science project that looks at the different amounts of water that are found in snow and ice as they melt.
FAKE SNOW RECIPES COMPARED
A fun STEAM lesson is to compare fake snow recipes to see how they hold up and which one is the best. Are there different recipes that work better based on what you’re using them for?
Fake Snow Ingredients
A plastic table cover (this one can get messy)
Baking Soda (Chilled)
Shaving Cream (Foam not Gel)
Plastic Gloves – Optional
How to make Fake Snow
We are going to experiment with some different methods for making this fake snow and see which you think is the best faux snow. We have a few recipes to try out, which one do you think is best? Why? Let’s explore!
Label your Plates 1, 2 & 3
RECIPE # 1 – Mix together equal parts of cornstarch and lotion.
RECIPE #2 – Add 1 part water to 2 parts cold baking soda to a bowl. Mix well.
RECIPE #3 – Mix 2 parts baking soda to 1 part shaving cream
Bonus – Why not compare these DIY fake snow recipes to store bought fake snow powder?
Remember Snow has unique characteristics. It is wet (although it can feel dry), makes a crunching sound when stepped on, and can usually be packed into a ball. Use your senses, how does it look? How does it feel? What does it smell like?
Have students explore their observations and conclusions based on what they deem as most necessary. For me it was the fact that I could build a little snowman with recipe #2! Plus that snow was the whitest and brightest and was actually cold to the touch! What do you think?
Speaking of making fake snow, another option is to make Snow Dough for your fake snow play. This creative twist on our favourite Moon Dough recipe is fantastic for making snowmen without getting chilly fingers.
INDOOR SNOWBALL FIGHT WITH CATAPULTS
Have an indoor snowball fight, catapult style! Make popsicle stick catapults (learn how to make catapults here) and launch cotton balls! Or why not try a Catapult Cannon for a powered up indoor snowball fight?
MELTING SNOWMAN CHALLENGE
This fast paced Melting Snowman Oobleck Challenge is a great way to burn some energy indoors while having fun playing with non-Newtonian Fluids. Make a batch of Oobleck then have your students partner up in this challenge to see which teams can work together the best and the fastest to make their snowman before it melts away!
There are tons of cool books out there about snow! One of my favorites for school is Snowflake Bently. This book by Jacqueline Briggs and illustrated by Mary Azarian takes a look into the life of Wilson Bentley. Wilson grew up loving the snow and everything about it. He was fascinated by snowflakes and wanted to understand everything about them. Wilson’s family saved up and got him a microscope and a camera. He figured out how to photograph a snowflake! It is Wilson’s work that we use today to learn about snow! The book explores not only snow and this interesting man but also teaches us about determination and persistence especially in the face of doubt.
Other great stories about the snow…
Curious About the Snow? By Gina Shaw – Smithsonian
The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
What great snow day would be complete without some art projects? I have a couple I think you will love!
Puffy Paint Snowman Craft
The first is a puffy paint snowman craft. Puffy paint is an easy and fun mixture that you can kind of mold onto paper with a paintbrush and then press “accessories” into it – when it dries the accessories stay put and the paint stays puffy – these are super cute!
What do I need?
White School Glue
White Foam Shaving Cream
Accessories – I like foam pieces but cut out paper works just as well!
Construction Paper or other paper to paint on
Puffy Paint Snowman Directions
Mix together the glue and shaving cream in a bowl. This is a very forgiving recipe but you will want to eyeball about twice as much shaving cream as glue. Once the two are combined you can use a wide paint brush to swirl it onto some construction paper.
Once you’re happy with your shapes simply press your foam pieces or cutouts into the paint and then let it dry overnight – these pieces are adorable! You could add another layer to this and make it a writing project about the snowman!
Another fun “art” project is a “name” snowflake. Fold a piece of paper into at least fourths – if not 6ths. Cut a curved edge at the top and then with a pencil trace out your name. Be aware with your letters that you will want to be able to cut some spaces but still leave them connected. Carefully cut around your letters. When you open it up you will see your name in the snowflake! This is a lot of fun with older students who have more scissor control!
OUTDOOR SNOW DAY ACTIVITIES
Don’t forget to get outside and enjoy the cold season as well! Here are some ideas, especially if you live where it gets cold and snowy.
Build snow forts or make snowballs and snowmen.
Have an outdoor scavenger hunt. Simply hide some fun treasures and leave clues for the kids to go searching.
What about a picnic in the snow? Throw on those snow suits, grab some blankets and have a fun outdoor picnic in the snow. Don’t forget the hot chocolate with marshmallows for an extra special treat.
While you are out there, why not make a special treat that is popular in Canada. Simply take Maple Syrup (get the good stuff), drizzle it into fresh snow, then roll it around a craft stick for a special Maple Syrup Snow Candy treat.
Sledding is always a huge hit with all ages.
Why not try making Frozen Bubbles?
Or if it is cold enough, explore the Mpemba Effect and make a blizzard!
Snow painting is another great outdoor snow activity. Grab some spray bottles or a squirt bottle, and fill them with water and food coloring, and enjoy painting beautiful designs in the snow.
Have you tried making Snow Volcanoes? Simply build up a volcano with snow and leave the inside with enough space for a cup. Add a 1/4 cup of baking soda and a bit of food colouring to the cup and place it in the cavity of the volcano. When you are ready to erupt, just pour in some vinegar! Just be aware that the acidity of the vinegar may damage vegetation, even when frozen under all that snow. So don’t do this on a prized lawn or garden!
I hope you try some of these fun snow day activities and call a snow day for your favorite learners!