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Natural Snowflakes
  --Photo Gallery I
  --Photo Gallery II
  --Photo Gallery III
  --Guide to Snowflakes
  --Snowflake Books
  --Historic Snowflakes
  --Ice Crystal Halos
  --Snowflake Store
Designer Snowflakes
  --I: First Attempts
  --II: Better Snowflakes
  --III: Precision Snow
  --Snowflake Movies
  --Free-falling Snow
  --Designer's Page
Frost Crystals
  --Guide to Frost
  --Frost Photos
Snowflake Physics
  --Snowflake Primer
  --Snow Crystal FAQs
  --No Two Alike?
  --Crystal Faceting
  --Snowflake Branching
  --Electric Growth
  --Ice Properties
  --Myths and Nonsense
Snow Activities
  --Snowflake Watching
  --Photographing Snow
  --Make Your Own
  --Snowflake Fossils
  --Ice Spikes
  --Activities for Kids
Snowflake Touring
  --Snowflake Hot Spots
  --Northern Ontario
  --Hokkaido, Japan (2) (3)
  --Michigan U. P.
  --California Mountains
Copyright Issues
Activities for Kids
   ... Fun with snowflakes ...

This page contains some snowflake-related things you can do with children.  Some of the activities are suitable for younger kids, and others might be adaptable for the classroom.  If you have any other ideas you would like to share for this page, please send me an e-mail.

Snowflake Cutouts
Cutting snowflakes out of paper is a classic kids activity, and it's still a good one.  Remember, however, there are no eight-sided or four-sided snowflakes in nature, so hold out for real six-sided crystals.  For instructions on how to fold the paper, click here.

Rather than making random cuts in the folded paper, try making snowflakes that look like the real thing!  That will add a challenge to the project, and require some thinking.  It's more difficult than it sounds!  The picture at right has some real snow crystals to try copying:

Click on the image for a larger jpeg image, or click here for a .pdf file you can easily print.

Of course, if you don't want to use real paper, you can also cut out snowflakes on the web at SnowDays.  Here again, I recommend trying to create snowflakes that look like the real thing. (Well, I find it entertaining....)

There's another amusing pseudo-snowflake maker here.

Snowflake Watching

If you live in a cold climate, be sure to go outside and look at what kinds of snowflakes are falling.  It helps to have an inexpensive magnifier (see Snowflake Watching for a buyers guide), but you can also see a lot with the naked eye.  Children can see snowflakes better than adults, since their eyes can focus up close.

Black construction paper makes a good collecting surface, since it's easier to see the crystals against a dark background.  But you can also do fine just looking at your sleeve. 

I recommend going outside with a reference that shows you what kinds of crystals to look for.  Click on the table at right for a larger jpeg version, or click here for a printable .pdf version.  If you want more information, I recommend my Field Guide to Snowflakes (see Snowflake Books).

If the crystals look interesting, have some contests to see who can find the different crystal types, who can find the largest stellar crystals, etc.  Remember, however -- many snowfalls bring nothing but small, grainy snowflakes that look essentially like white sand.  On such days, there isn't much worth looking at.  If it's snowing, take a quick glance at the crystals on your sleeve.  If they look nice, then grab the kids and go outside to give everyone a look!

Collecting Snowflakes

In addition to looking at the falling snowflakes, you might also want to try making some plastic snowflake replicas.  This activity it too difficult for small children, but the end result will be interesting for all.  Try the technique using Superglue described in Snowflake Fossils.  It will probably take several hours spread over several weeks to get good results.  First of all, you will need a snowfall with good crystals - that alone may take some patience.  Second, it will take some trial and error to get decent replicas.  And finally, it takes a week just for the glue to dry in the cold.

Once you've mastered the technique, however, you can use a magnifier (or microscope, if you have access to one) to look at your replicas indoors, any time.  It costs very little to try this, and you may end up with a nice snowflake collection!

Ice Spikes
Everyone can try their hand at making some ice spikes.  All it takes is a dollar's worth of distilled water, some ice cube trays, and a freezer.  See Ice Spikes for details.  This is an easy overnight project that makes a lasting impression.  Ice spikes are bizarre, which makes them fun to make!

Return to was created by Kenneth G. Libbrecht, Caltech
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