With many people dealing with brutally cold temperatures right now, many kids might be going stir crazy in the house. It’s winter break. It’s dangerously cold outside. Parents might be looking for any sort of activity that doesn’t involve screens.
Well, why not embrace the cold and maybe even learn a little while doing it?
Here are some fun experiments to do in the cold.
Make a Cloud in the Blink of an Eye
If the air is cold enough, boiling water will switch right to water vapor when thrown in the air.
Once outside, take a cup of boiling water and throw it up and away from you. You’ll see the water instantly switch to what looks like snow. It’s not snow but just the water quickly changing states from liquid to water vapor. Since the temperature difference is so stark, the change is within a blink of the eye. Once the water is in the air, it quickly switches over to a clouds of water droplets.
It’s a fun experiment to watch but be careful where you’re throwing that boiling water and the direction of the wind.
Make Maple Syrup Candy
What kid doesn’t love candy? Well, if you have the cold and some fresh snow on the ground, he or she can make some right in the front yard. This experiment actually comes from book “The Little House on the Prairie.”
You’ll need pure maple syrup, fresh snow, and some popsicle sticks. On the stove, heating about 1/4 of a cup of syrup to boiling. Carefully pour the syrup into lines in the snow. Press a popsicle stick into the maple syrup while it’s cooling and roll it up.
Enjoy your sweet treat!
I don’t care what age you are. Everyone loves bubbles. Usually, blowing bubbles is a warm weather activity but when it’s cold enough you can actually make bubbles freeze. Make sure to blow your bubbles up so that they have time to freeze before they hit the ground. You can also catch your bubble on your wand and watch as the solution slowly stops swirling.
Try popping the bubble. Doesn’t it look like cling wrap?
For this experiment all you’ll need is an inflated balloon. Inside where it is warm, the balloon should be nice and full. Now bundle up and take your balloon with you outside into the cold. After a few seconds, your balloon will start to deflate. Want your balloon to come back to life? Just go back into the warm indoors and watch your balloon puff back up.
What is happening here? Well, volume and temperature are directly correlated so as the temperature drops, the space the air molecules take up also drops. The cold makes the molecules move slower and are hitting the balloon less often and thus the balloon deflates. Once you take the balloon back inside, the molecules speed back up and the balloon re-inflates.
Hope you have fun out there but make sure you’re dressing warm enough when outside performing these experiments.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Kate Mantych