ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Teaching with Ticia: Snow!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Teaching with Ticia: Snow!

Welcome! New to ABC and 123? Please check out our FAQ in the sidebar.

With January our thoughts all turn to winter themes and units and snow and Jan Brett's The Mitten.  Or maybe that's just me.  But, here in Texas it's really hard to think about all these things with weather in the 70s.

So, to help our study of snow we made some.

Supplies needed: mixing bowl or some other suitable container, disposable diaper, water, measuring cups

Optional: toys to play with

For our experiment, we were going to be traveling to another location and doing it with another family, so I bagged up half a diapers worth of stuff for each child and when we got there poured it into the bowl for the kids to play with.

Now, there's two different ways to go.

1.  A cool sensory experience; in that case rip the stuffing out of the diaper, dump it in a bowl, and let your kid have at it pouring water in.


2.  Make it an experiment.

In which case, here goes:

First, make a prediction of how many cups the stuff will hold.  What will this feel like afterwards.  Feel it right now, what does it feel like.  Is it rough, soft?  Does it have lots of little pieces or is it all one big clump?

Now, put the diaper stuff in a bowl.  Slowly start adding scoops of water.  With older kids you can be more scientific and make sure you're measuring accurately.  Little guys will happily count through how many cups of water you can add, and you will be surprised by how much it soaks up.

My daughter wasn't willing to pour large amounts of water in, and it was interesting to compare the consistencies of the different bowls after awhile they were very different.

Photobucket Photobucket

Look at the difference between these two bowls.  Princess only added in about 1/2 cup of water, and hers still feels and looks rather like clumpy cotton.  Batman had added at least two cups of water into his (honestly I lost count), and you can see the difference in size and textures.

Possible extensions:

1.  Sensory table- when I did this last year with the kids they spent a good 30 minutes playing with it and burying things in it, and pretending Santa was up at the North Pole.  Way too cute.

2.  Look into the science of it at the chemistry level.  Here's a link that got me started on this, and there are several follow on ideas listed on that page.

3.  Read winter themed books, some suggestions: Jan Brett's "The Mitten;"  "Snip, Snip, Snow;" Animals in Winter, Snow.

Any other book suggestions?  I have to admit living in Texas I don't have a wide repertoire of snow books and winter themed ones, so I'm always up for more great suggestions.


  1. Love this. Diaper snow. Meant to try it last year but never got to it. Fits nicely with an Arctic them too.

  2. I actually bought some insta-snow, I didn't think of ripping up a diaper...we have plenty of those laying around lol. It doesn't snow where we live so it was a good way to at least introduce the concept of snow to her.