10 Science Experiments to Do in the Snow

If you can't go outside and scoop up a handful of snow, you can always buy some fake stuff. gpointstudio/iStock/Thinkstock

If you live in a climate without snow, don't think that you have to miss out on all the fluffy, white fun. And while it's not going to work as a science lesson in ice crystals or temperature changes, some fake snow can teach lessons about chemicals and even the conservation of mass.

Insta-Snow is a product you can buy that, on first inspection, appears to be a fine white powder. But add a bit of water to a cup of the stuff, wait a few seconds, and suddenly your cup runneth over with fluffy, white powder that mimics the look and feel of snow. (Minus the cold.)

What can you learn from Insta-Snow? For one, you can discuss how it works in general. The powder is made from polymers that are similar to those found in baby diapers: that means they soak up liquids like crazy. But these polymers swell really large, and thus create the "flakes" of snow [source: Steve Spangler Science]. You can ask kids about the difference between a physical reaction and chemical reaction using Insta-Snow -- does the substance actually change or just transform temporarily? To prove your point, ask them to observe the fluffed-up Insta-Snow after a few days: They'll see that it's reverted back to powder form, due to evaporation.