We decided to bring snow inside to try a fun kids science activity. My preschooler was able to observe the interaction between temperature and melting rate, by comparing how quickly snowballs melted at 3 different temperatures.
Science Project Set Up
- Container to carry snowballs inside
- 3 containers (1 freezer safe, 1 for the refrigerator, 1 for room temperature)
After we were done playing outside, we made several snowballs. I explained we were going to bring them inside and see how quickly they melted. We made the snowballs and brought them inside on a tray.
My 5 year old put the freezer snowballs in a freezer plastic bag, and put the other snowballs into bowls: 1 for the refrigerator, and 1 we left on the table.
I asked him which area was warmest: the table, the refrigerator, or the freezer. And then I asked him where he thought the snowballs would melt the most quickly, and where he thought the snowballs would melt the slowest. We wrote down his answers.
So that I wouldn’t forget to check the snowballs, we set a timer to go off once an hour. Each time the timer went off, we checked on the snowballs. My son observed which snowballs showed signs of melting, and how much of each snowball had melted.
We continued this until the snowball on the table had melted, and the snowball in the refrigerator began melting (it didn’t melt fully until the next day).
Introducing Science Vocabulary
We also used this as an opportunity to talk about some of the “science-y” words. As we went though each step, we discussed the meanings of experiment, hypothesis, observation, and conclusion, and used the words throughout our project. We used the words several times, so he would become more familiar with each word.
For example, I repeated the word “hypothesis” at every step of our project. When I asked him what he thought would happen to each snowball, I said, “Your thoughts on what will happen are called your hypothesis.” Then I asked him, “So, what is your hypothesis?” And he repeated it. After each observation, I asked him if he remembered his hypothesis, and to tell me what it was. Then when we had our conclusion, I asked if his hypothesis was accurate.
I also have a confession – the snowballs are still in the freezer. I let my son talk me into saving the snowballs for summer!