Let It Snow!

Children will observe the properties of snow.


Lesson Objective

The children will learn about snow, how it forms, and how it melts.


What You'll Need

  • Snow
  • 2-gallon buckets – 1 per 8 children
  • Plastic cups – 1 per child
  • Permanent marker – 1 (teacher use)
  • Scoops – 1 per 2 children
  • Sand rakes – child size – 1 per 2 children
  • Empty sand table or basins

What To Do

Note: This lesson is designed based on real snow being available. If real snow is not available, perform the activity using finely chopped ice; it will be similar to the consistency of snow. You can make pretend snow for the children to make a picture with (see Explore, Extend, & Integrate).

  1. Talk with the children about what they know about snow; what it looks like, feels likes, smells like (see Did You Know?).
  2. Tell the children they will be investigating snow.
  3. Write each child’s name on a cup and distribute them.
  4. Have the children pack some snow into their cups until full.
  5. Ask the children to place their cup of snow anywhere in the classroom.
  6. Put the remaining snow in the sand table or in basins. Allow the children to use the scoops, rakes, and cups to play with the snow (see Guiding Student Inquiry).
  7. Have the children observe what happens to the snow placed in the cups around the classroom (see Guiding Student Inquiry).

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe how the snow feels.
  • Tell me what you can do with snow.
  • Tell me what might happen to the snow in the cups.
  • Explain where snow comes from.
  • Describe what happened to the snow.
  • Explain how the snow melted.
  • Explain the reason you think a full cup of snow melted into much less water.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • If real snow is not available, you can make pretend snow for the children to make a picture with by mixing 1 bag of Epsom salt with ¼ of a large container of glitter. Have the children spread glue on construction paper and sprinkle the pretend snow on the paper. It will look like freshly fallen snow.
  • If it is snowing outside, take the children, black construction paper, and magnifying glasses outside. Capture snowflakes on the paper to examine with the magnifying glasses.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Could children describe how the snow feels?
  • Could children explain that snow is a form of precipitation like rain?
  • Could children explain where snow comes from?
  • Could children explain why the snow melted?


Did You Know?

Any type of water that forms in the atmosphere and drops to the Earth is called precipitation. Precipitation forms in clouds. Rain, hail, sleet, and snow are forms of precipitation that fall from the sky. Precipitation comes from water drops in the clouds that become heavy enough to fall back to Earth. Rain that falls from clouds and freezes before hitting the Earth is called sleet. Hail comes from very cold water droplets that freeze as soon as they touch dust or dirt in the air. Cold storm clouds blow the frozen droplets into the upper part of the cloud. Frozen droplets attach to each other, and then they fall to the Earth as hail. Snow is precipitation that falls in the form of ice crystals.

Snow is soft, individually frozen ice crystals that form in clouds. In order for snow to fall to the ground, the temperature must be cold in the clouds as well as on the ground. When the temperature drops below freezing, tiny water droplets stick to small bits of dust that have been carried up into the atmosphere by the wind. The water droplets and the dust stick together and form ice crystals. Ice crystals stick together in clusters to form snowflakesAs snowflakes grow, they become heavier and fall to the ground. Each snowflake is made of as many as 200 ice crystals. Every snowflake has six sides but each snowflake is different. Snow falls only in areas where the temperature is cold enough for snow to form, so it does not snow in all parts of the United States.

Vocabulary: Child-Friendly Definitions

  • snow – small, soft, white pieces of frozen water that fall from the sky like rain.
  • snowflake – a small, thin piece of ice that has fallen from the sky.
  • weather – the conditions outside; including things such as temperature, wind, clouds, rain, snow, and sun.
  • ice crystal – a rock of clear, frozen water that has a regular shape.
  • melt – to change from a solid to a liquid through heat.
  • precipitation – the act of water falling in the form of rain, snow, sleet, or hail.

Lesson Tips

  • Be sure to use finely chopped ice, like you would get from a blender. The chopped ice will have a consistency similar to snow.


  • The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino
  • Millions of Snowflakes by Mary McKenna Siddals
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • The Little Snowflake by Steve Metzger
  • Snow by Roy McKie and P.D. Eastman

Home School Resources

Home educators: use these printable lesson PDFs to teach this lesson to your home schoolers. They're available in English and Spanish.

Home/School Connections

Las Conexiones a la Casa

While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed.

Content Provided By

Common Core State Standards Initiative – These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge [1]. Visit the CCSS