Ah, winter! Love it or hate it, in many places it means months of freezing temperatures with lots of ice and snow. Why not embrace the cold weather and use it to explore the world of winter science experiments? This list includes great projects for kids of all ages. No snow or ice where you live? Many of these can be done indoors, using a freezer instead.
1. Study the science of snowflakes.
Did you know that every snowflake has six sides? Or that they form from water vapor, not raindrops? There’s lots to learn about the science of snowflakes. Hit the link below for more.
Learn more: The Homeschool Scientist
2. Dig deeper into snow science.
Anyone that sees a lot of snow each winter knows there are many different kinds—heavy wet snow, dry powdery snow, and so on. Older students will enjoy this winter science project, which tracks atmospheric conditions to find out how we get different types of snow.
Learn more: Science Buddies
3. Discover the beauty of frozen bubbles.
Bubble experiments are always fun, but frozen bubbles add a whole new dimension of beauty. Take your class outside to blow bubbles when the temps are below freezing and watch the magic happen! (No freezing temperatures where you live? The link below offers tips for trying this with dry ice.)
Learn more: ThoughtCo
4. Learn about condensation and frost.
Use snow or ice cubes for this winter science experiment that explores condensation and the formation of frost. All you need is some metal cans and salt.
Learn more: Schooling a Monkey
5. Erupt a snow volcano.
Take the classic baking soda volcano experiment and add snow! Kids learn about acids and bases with this popular winter science project.
Learn more: Science Sparks
6. Explore how mittens keep you warm.
Ask little ones if mittens are warm, and they’ll likely answer “yes!” But when they measure the temperature inside an empty mitten, they’ll be surprised by what they find. Learn about body heat and insulation with this easy experiment.
Learn more: Classroom Magic
7. String up some sticky ice.
Can you lift an ice cube using just a piece of string? This experiment teaches you how, using a little salt to melt and then refreeze the ice with the string attached. Bonus project: Use this process to make a garland of colored ice stars (or other shapes) and hang them outside for decoration.
Learn more: Playdough to Plato
8. Construct an igloo.
Calling all future engineers! Freeze blocks of ice (milk cartons work well) and create a life-size igloo with your class. If this seems too ambitious, try a smaller version with ice cubes instead.
Learn more: Science Buddies
9. Measure the water content of snow.
Two inches of snow is not the same as two inches of rain. This easy winter science experiment measures the amount of water actually found in an inch of snow.
Learn more: Edventures with Kids
10. Have fun with hockey science.
A hockey puck slides effortlessly across the ice, but what about other objects? Gather up some classroom items and take them out to a frozen puddle to see which slide best.
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
11. Determine the best way to melt ice.
Conventional wisdom says we sprinkle salt on ice to melt it faster. But why? Is that really the best method? Try this winter science experiment and find out.
Learn more: The Chaos and the Clutter
12. Freeze your Oobleck.
Kids love to play with the mysterious oobleck, a non-Newtonian liquid that becomes firm under pressure. Try freezing it to increase the fun factor and see how it reacts as it melts.
Learn more: Inspiration Laboratories
13. Watch the wintertime birds.
Winter is a great time to set up a bird feeder and observe our feathered friends. Learn to identify common backyard birds in your area and discover which foods they prefer. Take this winter science activity even further by signing up your class for Project FeederWatch, a citizen science project all about winter birdwatching.
Learn more: Creekside Learning
14. Play around with pine cones.
Head out to the snowy woods and gather up some pine cones, then bring them inside and experiment to see what makes them open and release their seeds.
Learn more: Lemon Lime Adventures
15. Conduct a winter nature study.
There are so many natural wonders to study during the winter months! Measure temperatures, track the snowfall, look for animal prints—and that’s just a few ideas. Make winter nature study even easier with free printables at the link below.
Learn more: Jimmie’s Collage
16. Find out how arctic animals stay warm.
Grab some rubber gloves, zipper bags, and a can of shortening to learn how layers of fat help to insulate animals and keep them warm. Do this winter science experiment outside in the snow or inside with a bowl of cold water and ice cubes.
Learn more: Forgetful Momma
17. Add color to melting ice.
In this colorful winter science activity, you’ll use salt to start the ice melting (it lowers the freezing point of water). Then, add pretty watercolors to see the ravines and crevices that form as the ice melts.
Learn more: Artful Parent
18. Melt ice with pressure.
There are plenty of experiments that melt ice with salt, but this one is a little different. Instead, it uses the heat produced by pressure to move a piece of wire through a block of ice.
Learn more: Kiwi Co.
19. Make instant ice.
Here’s a winter science experiment that seems more like a magic trick. Place a bottle of water in a bowl of ice (or snow) and rock salt. When you take it out, the water is still liquid—until you slam it against the counter and it freezes instantly! Find out how it works at the link below.
Learn more: Steve Spangler Science
20. Create rainbow ice towers.
Once you master the instant ice trick, add some food coloring and see if you can create instant rainbow ice towers! The video above walks you through the process.
21. Experiment with fake snow recipes.
No snow where you live? You’ll just have to make your own! Try a variety of fake snow recipes and determine which makes the best batch.
Lear more: The Homeschool Scientist
22. Build a crystal snowman.
It wouldn’t be a winter science list without at least one crystal project, right? This adorable snowman version is a unique twist on the popular supersaturated solutions experiment. Get the how-to at the link below.
Learn more: The Science Kiddo
23. Cook up some hot ice.
Tired of frozen toes in the name of science? This experiment has ice in the name, but will keep you warm and toasty. It’s essentially another kind of crystal project, but this one forms the crystals instantly, due to the way you cook up the solution.
Learn more: Frugal Fun for Boys and Girls
24. Savor the sweetness of hot cocoa science.
After all these ice-and-snow winter science projects, you deserve a reward. This hot cocoa experiment aims to find the optimal temperature for dissolving hot cocoa mix. Once you’ve found the answer, you get to sip on the delicious results!
Learn more: Creative Family Fun
What are your favorite winter science experiments? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.
Now that you’ve done some science, how about some crafts? See 22 Classroom Winter Crafts We Want to Try Right Now.