The first snowfall is like being transported inside a snow globe. The landscape transforms with a fresh sprinkle of snow on everything from the trees to houses. “Crunch, crunch” can be heard from the boots of families making their way outside to experience the first snow of the season. Snow is an experience where families can engage with each other through activities such as sledding, making snow angels, making snowmen, or making snow ice cream. As snow falls, a winter extravaganza occurs filled with fantastic crafts, science experiments, and stories everyone will enjoy. Here’s a selection of my favorite wintry crafts and a science experiment. Librarians will find these useful for storytime. Families will find tips for involving all ages with each craft project and science experiment. Oh, and remember that, just like snow, all our creations can be different.
Craft 1: Craft Stick Reindeer
Three ice pop or craft sticks, $7.99 for a box of 200, online
- Two wiggly eyes, any size, $6.25 for a bag of 200, online
- Two pipe cleaners (any color, brown will work), $8.59 for a bag of 200, online
- One red (or any color) pom-pom for the nose, $6.99 for a bag of 100, online
- Markers, $6.74, online
Total $36.56. Price is based on buying bulk items. You might have many of these supplies in your library supply closet or at home.
- Help your child glue all three craft sticks together to create a triangle. This is the head of the reindeer.
- Have your child color the craft sticks. Reindeers are traditionally brown but since crafts are a child’s creation they can be whatever color they choose.
- Turn the head so the point of the triangle faces down. Help your child glue down the pom-pom on the point.
- Help your child twist the pipe cleaners and tape them on the back of the craft sticks to make two antlers.
- Pair this craft with Gene Autry’s song, Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer or the book, The Itsy, Bitsy Reindeer by Jeffrey Burton.
- Play the game, I‑Spy with My Little Eye, and help them search for triangular objects.
- Find a book or a picture about reindeer and read it together.
- Locate a picture of a reindeer hoof. If it is snowing outside, see if you and your child can make a print of the hoof in the snow by using sticks or cookie cutters.
Craft 2: Bubble Print Snowflakes
- White cardstock, $12.89 for 50 sheets, online. A plain sheet of white paper will work.
- Bubble solution, $4.96 or homemade bubble solution (see instructions below)
- 2–4 straws
- 2–4 paper cups
- Food coloring, $3.76 online
- Newspaper, or anything to cover the table
Total $21.61 You might already have many of these products at home.
- Use one piece of white cardstock or a plain sheet of white paper and help your child cut out a snowflake, large or small. Cut out as many as you would like. This is a great website with instructions for making paper snowflakes.
- Set out 2–4 cups and add bubble solution and a few drops of food coloring to each one. Mixing colors is just fine. Take the opportunity to talk about colors. Once finished, put a straw in each cup.
- Choose a color to start and work with your child to make bubbles from the bubble solution. Remember to exhale. Don’t inhale.
- Take the paper towel tube and dip it in orange paint.
- Place the paper towel tube on the paper to make your pumpkin shape.
- Gently put paper on top of the bubbles and work together to pop them with your fingers. Voilá! You now have bubble snowflakes.
Homemade Bubble Solution Supplies
- Dish soap, $3.82 online
- Either glycerin, $5.63 or corn syrup, $10.95 online
Total: $9.45 or $14. 77. You might already have these products at home.
Homemade Bubble Solution Steps
- Measure six cups of water.
- Add 1 cup of dish soap and stir.
- Use either 1 tablespoon of glycerin or ¼ cup of corn syrup and pour it into the dish soap solution and stir.
- Learn about Wilson Bentley, the man who photographed snowflakes. Read the biography, Snowflake Bentley, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and Mary Azarian.
- Watch this Youtube video about Wilson Bentley.
- Ask, “do you think snowflakes have color or all they white because of the snow?” For older children, this is a great opportunity to discuss prisms.
- Look at the snowflakes you created together. Discuss what shapes you and your child observe.
- Look at the colors from the bubble solution. Ask, “Did one color show up better than the other? Why do you think that is?”
a Winter Science Experiment
This science experiment takes the traditional baking soda volcano to a new level. This experiment should be done outside so bundle up.
- Baking soda
- Food coloring
- A cup
If you have all of these ingredients on hand, there’s no cost!
- Head outside into the snow.
- Place the cup on the ground.
- Work together to form a mound of snow around the cup.
- Work together to form a cone shape. Any size will do.
- As a family, add a few drops of food coloring. Any color or multiple colors will do.
- Choose one member of the family to pour the vinegar.
- Watch your snow begin to change color.
- Find a nonfiction book about winter such as Let’s Look at Winter by Sarah Schuette and learn about this cold season.
- Ask, “what on earth is a cone shape?”
- Research and then discuss, “what is the reaction that caused the eruption?”
- If you mixed colors discuss what new colors were created.
- Since you are outdoors, spend time observing nature. Point out what you see (birds, trees and clouds).
Other Great Winter Stories to Enjoy