The Best DIY Fake Snow Recipes for Sensory Play With Kids
Winter can be such a great season for sensory play, especially if you live in a snowy place. Cold, soft, and moldable snow allows for so many creative opportunities for kids of all ages. From tasting to tossing, scooping to sculpting, the sensory nature of snow makes it a wonderful natural playground. However, those who don’t live in a snowy environment may want their kiddos to experience the magic of this chilly substance indoors. The good news is that artificial or fake snow can be easily made right from home! Even better, it creates the perfect opportunity to teach your kiddos a little bit about the science of snow. Explore the lessons, fake snow recipes, and sensory play activities below so you feel confident to facilitate this wonderful winter treat with your kiddos. There are so many important ways that winter play helps your child to have fun, develop, and stay active.
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What Is Snow Made Of?
As tiny ice crystals are falling from the sky, your little one may ask you, “What is snow made of?” You can tell them that snow forms high in the clouds from water vapor: water in the form of gas. When it gets really cold (under 32 degrees Fahrenheit), the vapor freezes around dust in the clouds and creates ice crystals. If the crystals become heavy enough, they fall to the ground or onto the tongues of kiddos seeking a taste of this mystical element. One snowflake can contain between one and one hundred ice crystals and each one is unique just like your baby! Snowflakes are hexagons. They have 6 sides to them, or very occasionally 3 or 12 (a multiple of 6). This is how snow forms. Of course, the process is quite different for those of us who want to make artificial or fake snow indoors.
How to Make It Snow Indoors
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You can find a number of homemade snow machines on the market to blow fake snow for a party. Alternatively, you can also buy a can of snow to decorate your windows or get a fake snow maker for snow cones and other chilly treats. However, if you want to make indoor snow for sensory play, you’ll need a few different ingredients.
How to Make DIY Fake Snow at Home
Artificial or fake snow can easily be made right from home with just one or two ingredients. Depending on your kiddo’s sensory preferences and interests, you can combine a number of different materials to DIY different types of homemade artificial snow. Take a look at the fake snow recipes below and choose the one you think your kiddos will enjoy the most. Consider adding glitter and beads to make the dough a little extra sparkly.
Edible Homemade Fake Snow Recipes
Baking soda snow is the most common fake snow recipe. However, cornstarch can also be used. The second ingredient is up to you! Although all of these ingredients can be ingested, they shouldn’t be in large quantities. The coconut flakes will definitely be the most delicious edible fake snow recipe.
Baking Soda & Water
Have your little one practice scooping, pouring, and conversation of volume by taking 1 cup of baking soda and dropping it into a bowl. Then add water just one tablespoon at a time, while your little one uses a fork or whisk to combine the mixture. When the texture appears to be light and fluffy, it’s ready to play with!
Flour & Oil
Mix together white flour and a little bit of oil (coconut or vegetable both work great!). Let your little one stir them together until the mixture becomes soft and fluffy.
For an actually yummy edible fake snow recipe, consider using coconut flakes! They can be quickly baked at 175 degrees Fahrenheit then blended just slightly for a non-sticky artificial snow option. Sprinkle it over cakes and cookies for a decorative and tasty winter treat.
Another tasty option is simply spraying some whipping cream on a plate or in a bin with other winter toys! Avoid the sugar high though by making sure your little one doesn’t eat too much.
Non-Edible Homemade Fake Snow Recipes
White shaving cream, conditioner, and lotion can all be used as the second ingredient in artificial snow recipes to make a smooth and soft snowy texture.
Baking Soda & Shaving Cream
Measure one cup of baking soda into a bowl. Then teach your little one to press on the shaving cream button and combine the materials until a thick, snowy substance forms.
Baking Soda & White Conditioner
With ½ cups of conditioner and about three cups of baking soda, you can make fake snow for your kiddos! Simply combine the ingredients until they match the texture of your preference. This recipe makes more of a snow dough for your littles to sculpt all winter long!
Cornstarch & Shaving Cream
Shaving cream and cornstarch in equal parts will also yield a snow dough that can be molded into so many fun shapes and sizes like snowmen.
Cornstarch & White Lotion
This mixture in equal parts will create a more powdery substance that resembles snow.
Making Artificial Snow Into a Science Experiment
When you combine citric acid, baking soda, and water, a chemical reaction occurs. The molecules mix around and produce carbon dioxide gas, which is what forms the bubbles! It's a very exciting and safe reaction. You can explain that carbon dioxide is the same substance we exhale after inhaling oxygen.
There are many chemical reactions. Some of them are endothermic or exothermic. Endothermic reactions absorb energy (heat) from their surroundings while exothermic reactions release energy. This baking soda and citric acid experiment absorbs energy (heat) from the environment, which means if you touch it while it's happening, it will feel cold to you because it absorbs the heat from your fingers! On a small scale like a home experiment, this is completely safe to touch.
Other chemical reactions examples:
- Endothermic: melting ice, photosynthesis (absorbs energy from the sun and turns it into carbon dioxide), and cooking.
- Exothermic: certain chemical reactions that produce flame/fire/explosions/light
Making Fake Snow for Christmas
If your family celebrates Christmas, you can dump your fake snow into a plastic container and make a Christmas sensory bin! Just throw in your kiddos’ favorite Christmas themed toys. Maybe they like the nativity characters and want to learn the story while they play. Or, if you celebrate xmas as a secular holiday, consider getting toy trees, a Santa Claus, reindeer, and a sled. You can also just make the sensory bin winter themed.
Making Fake Snow for Crafts for Kids
Babies who are old enough to ingest food can definitely play with the coconut flake fake snow. They may also enjoy smooshing the other edible options, just be careful that they don’t put too much in their mouths.
With a plastic container, sensory table, or sensory tray, your toddler can create their very own sensory play snow scene! They can make a town with houses, roads, and cars that drive through the snow. Or an animal wonderland where deer frolic through woods. If they like sports, they can build a snow mountain and have toy skiers or snowboarders race down it.
Snow crafts and sensory play can be a little more interesting with this older bunch. They can practice writing their letters or numbers in shaving cream snow. Or try giving them some winter or Christmas themed stamps so they can decorate their baking soda or cornstarch snow dough. Snowmen can be sculpted and decorated too!
Where to Buy Fake Snow
If you want to buy fake snow, you can purchase instant snow from a number of retailers. Or you can order the Arctic Sensory Bin. It includes instant snow that comes portioned in three bags. It can be dried and reused, played with inside or out, is nontoxic (of course) and feels just like real snow. Make it with cold water for an even more realistic experience, or make snowballs and freeze them for 45 minutes! Or try making it with warm water for a really bizarre mind trick! The bin also comes with arctic toy animals, scooping devices, and toy ice rocks and beads to make a beautiful and wintery wonderland.