We won’t have snow in Seattle but lots of snow in the mountains! We will have some fun investigating snow,
snowflakes, cold weather and mittens this month.
Just as no two snowflakes are alike your child is not like any other child. Yes, they may have family
similarities or are right on target with other children their age on the development charts but they are
all unique little people. Enjoy those special qualities that make your child a ‘snowflake’ – unique and
This week we will be talking about snow and snowflakes.
The Science of Snowflakes: Facts and Activities for Children
December 9, 2015
Six is the magic number for snow - did you know that? If you had a big magnifier and stepped outside with your
children on a cold winter day to watch snow fall from the sky, here is what you might observe - six-sided hexagonal
crystals, needles or flat six-sided crystals, and a wide variety of six-sided shapes. All snowflakes are a combination
of the number six for simple chemical reasons - they're all variants of the water molecule. Despite all snowflakes
having six sides, not two snowflakes are exactly identical. How crazy is that? Here are a few more fun facts about
snowflakes as well as simple science activities you can do with your children.
Where Do Snowflakes Come From?
As obvious as this may sound, snowflakes—or more scientifically, snow crystals—are formed in clouds. However
they are not frozen raindrops, called sleet or hail. Snowflakes are a different cold weather phenomenon
formed from water vapor that condenses around a tiny particle—the seed crystal, usually a speck of dust—in
clouds. Cloud droplets condense around the seed crystal and freeze on the surface of the particle, patterns
emerging as the crystals grow.
The shape of snowflakes is determined by the altitude and temperatures at which they are formed. When several
crystals stick together or create puffy white balls, they become snowflakes. Once the snowflakes are heavy
enough, they fall to the earth. The average snowflakes fall at an average speed of 3.1 miles per hour!
I hope you have a chance to enjoy the simple joy of a snowflake falling to the ground.