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Teaching Moment: Snow Day Fun

It was a big snow storm and you’ve already made a snow man family, been pelted with snowballs and attempted to ice skate with snow boots. You’ve tried out all of the activities we shared last week, so now what?

Turn your next snow day into a teaching moment!

Some kids’ science experiments can only be done when there’s snow, so it’s a good idea to collect kids’ snow-worthy science questions year round to test on snow days. While your kids will likely pose their own questions to be observed and answered, a few science experiment topics to get you started include melting in different parts of the yard (shaded versus not shaded), temperature changes and how it affects melting, day and night temperatures, freezing in different containers and temperatures, weighing snow versus water, and freezing snow in the freezer.

What’s most important while you experiment with young children is that you follow their lead. Ask a few leading questions and let them determine the answers. If they need to see it again, do it again. If they question a change that is possible to try, do it! Children are naturally curious so let them continue the direction of an experiment.

Don’t forget the very important hypothesis (or educated guess) before you begin —their questions and ideas will lead to more opportunities to learn.

 

Attributed to MsSticky/CreativeCommons

While you’re experimenting with your kids, try to ask questions that can’t be answered with a yes or a no. “What do you think?” will provide a very different answer than “Did you think it would melt?” Help your children learn to describe by prompting them to use describing words (adjectives and adverbs) as they discuss what is happening. After the experiment, guide kids to summarize for another person, or to tell you what they liked about it or what surprised them.

If you have a bit of time to wait (perhaps you’re experimenting with a cup of water in the snow, while waiting for it to freeze, take out crafting supplies and illustrate what they’re doing. Have kids draw a picture of what they’re seeing. Next, they can draw what they think will happen next, and when the experiment is complete ask them to draw what really happened. Illustrating an experiment is an important step of summarizing and describing.

If you still have time to fill while you wait out the experiment do related crafts like cutting snowflakes, writing poems or reading snow-related books.

Also, winter-loving animals will leave all sorts of tracks in your yard and through your neighborhood, so take this opportunity to help your kids to identify the tracks and follow them through the yard.

 

Attributed to Martin effortDee Toole/CreativeCommons

Kids can create stories about their treks through the neighborhood, or leave food nearby in hopes they’ll create more tracks tomorrow.

What type of educational activities have you done with your family on a snow day?

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