Melting Snowman Science is a science experiment that will keep your little learners engaged while they explore dissolving a substance with water. This exploration goes great with a Winter Theme.
In this fun experiment, children will use drops of water to dissolve a biodegradable packing peanut.
These biodegradable packing peanuts are very easy to get: many companies now use these when they ship items to you. Just save them in a giant ziplock bag or ask friends and family to save some. Now you have a free science material!
How do you know if it’s the biodegradable kind? Of course, not all packing peanuts are biodegradable, some are styrofoam. To find out if you have the biodegradable kind, take one and smash it between your fingers. If it mashes flat and doesn’t bounce back, it’s probably biodegradable, but just to make sure, take it to a sink and run water over it. If it dissolves, you’ve got the right kind.
This experiment uses non-toxic, safe materials. One of them is water. The other are these biodegradable packing peanuts. It’s probably not a great idea to eat one because they are not produced to be eaten (of course), but if a child or pet does eat one, it will not harm them. Steve Spangler even ate one in this video.
Gather Your Materials. You will need…
- Biodegradable packing peanuts (about 4 per child)
- Small water cups
- Dropper or pipette (one per child)
- Bowl or plate with deep sides (one per child)
- Sharpies (black and orange)
Prepare the Melting Snowman Science Experiment
I do this experiment at Small Group, so I usually have 6 kids sitting at a table for this activity. I even do this as an independent small group with 4-5 year olds, so the kids are not sitting with a teacher. It works well because they are so engaged, just be sure to explain what you expect them to do before the activity.
Place a bowl or a plate with deep sides at each child’s spot at the table. Place a small water cup at each child’s spot with a dropper or pipette.
Use Sharpies to draw eyes and carrot nose on each packing peanut to make it look like a snowman.
Yes! You could add black eyes only and these could be little ghosts! Make it a Halloween Science activity, making the ghosts disappear!
How to Do the Melting Snowman Science Experiment
The directions are very simple! Just squirt drops of water onto the “snowmen” using the dropper. Continue adding water until the snowmen “melt”or dissolve.
Be sure to explain to the children that the water is dissolving the snowman, and that it’s not actually melting, you’re just pretending that it’s melting. You might even wish to show kids a styrofoam packing peanut that will not dissolve in water, and explain that the biodegradable kind are made of starch. They are also better for the environment because rain in the landfill will dissolve them.
Extend the Activity
It would be cool to place a pile of these packing peanuts in the sensory table along with turkey basters or syringes (without needles).