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Nature Activity: Snowflakes

Catching snowflakes

Everyone says each one is unique.  But how often do you get a chance to find out for yourself? 

A light feathery snow is the perfect type for catching a good look.  You need it to be just cold enough (below freezing) for detailed formations on each flake, but not so cold that the flakes freeze to one another.

Take a dark sheet of paper outside – the paper will quickly change temperature, keeping it from melting your snowflakes. 

Catch some snowflakes on your paper! You can use magnifying glasses, cameras, microscopes, but even just your eyes are often enough to see some of the details.  

When you’re well and truly frozen, head back in and check out this book on the science of snow.

The Story of Snow; The Science of Winter's Wonder

Written by Mark Cassino & Jon Nelson, Ph.D., 2009

Did you know how snowflakes form?  Do you know what forms they take? Is it true that no two snowflakes are alike? 

Find all the answers in this picture book.  Appropriate for kids from preschool all the way to highschool with detailed photographs, easy to understand text, and bonus facts.  It has really great explanations and graphics, and has additional text offering additional information.  Find the author’s instructions for catching snow crystals in the back of the book. 

We read this book as part of our nature curriculum each winter, and have lots of fun recreating our own snowflakes once we know more about how they work!


Create your own snowflakes

Everyone has made a paper snowflake – folding and cutting shapes is fun.  But have you created one?  We set this invitation to create out after our snow book so everyone could have a chance to make their own waste-free snowflake. 

We used some small sticks painted white (from an earlier project), white buttons, pompoms, sequins, feathers, and paper scraps.  When the project is complete, we simply take a photograph! Then we can continue to use the materials over and over for as many snowflakes as we want.  

Here’s the end result!