Snow is a perfect theme for one of January and February's Virtual Book Club with Kids themes and a classic Winter storybook for kids The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats one of the unfortunate things in the UK is that we don't get snow very often, however, we do have frosts and ice. One of the questions that always pops up with my children and with the classes that I have taught is why in winter do we use Ice on the roads. So this simple winter science investigation is ideal for kids to explore and draw their own conclusions based on their knowledge and level of understanding.
As with all of our Virtual Book Club for Kids, posts don't forget to check out our other suggestions for Featured Books for your weekly book basket on the theme of Winter as well as our co-hosts lesson plan with ideas for Winter themed fun and activities.
Materials Needed for this Winter Science Investigation
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Camera or smartphone - these are the cameras that we have purchased for our kids to use they are fairly sturdy but provide a much better image and video than the kids cameras that you can buy.
Why not download our Winter Science Prompts and Investigation sheet here
The science behind it
So that you can help your child draw some conclusions it's worth understanding what is happening when salt is used on roads prior to snow or frost forming.
The science is really simple - salt lowers the freezing point of water from 0 degrees to below freezing (this is also why there is still water in the Arctic and the Antarctic even in the middle of winter as the sea is salty) so by gritting the roads and path ways with salt frost and snow that land on it or try and form will only do so at a much lower temperature than they would otherwise.
In this Winter Science Investigation we look at 2 different ideas - freezing icy water and what happens when salt is applied to already frozen water.
Winter Science Investigation 1 - Lowering the Freezing Point of water
Using our water table we set up this over two different nights when we knew that the temperature would drop. If you live in a warm climate you could do this in your freezer as well but with careful timing to make sure that both the none salty and salty water have the same amount of freezing time and the same temperature.
Start off by leaving your water table with fresh water in over night outside.
In the morning explore the ice to see how it's frozen - look at the thickness of it, how much of the water table it has covered.
You and your child could photograph the ice and them touching it and exploring it.
Now fill up your water table again and this time add in a cup or two of salt and help it dissolve by stirring.
Leave overnight again.
The following morning again look at the ice - has it frozen, is it as thick - use pictures that you took from the previous experiment to compare.
Talk to you child about why they think that there is a difference, what does the salt do? If there wasn't a difference what other factors could have changed?
Winter Science Investigation 2 - Salting on ice
This was a favorite of both J and T they both loved see what happens and helped them understand why even when ice and snow has fallen during the day the roads are still gritted and salt applied to paths.
With some ice - you can freeze this in the freezer if it's not cold enough where you are take a lid and add some water onto it and then place in the freezer so you have a sheet of ice.
Now sprinkle ice onto the surface and watch.
T videoed what was happened and then we spent time thinking about and explaining what was happening and causing the noises.
Check out these other fun Hands-on Winter Themed Learning Activities
Featured Winter Stories for Toddlers and Preschoolers
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Each week on our Virtual Book Club for Kids posts we make 5 suggestions of themed books that you could add to your reading basket this week. These include our featured book chosen due to the ease of reading, popularity or timeless quality of the story. This week's featured books all about winter are:
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats - our featured book and a classic beautiful story of winter fun for kids.
Winter by Gerda Muller - my kids both love this picture book and with no words, we can create our own stories based on the beautiful illustrations within the book
One Snowy Night by Nick Butterworth
The First Day of Winter by Denise Flemming
When it starts to snow by Phillis Gershator
Winter Themed Lesson Plan from Virtual Book Club for Kids
Each week we join together with other bloggers to share our book themed Virtual Book Club for Kids lesson plan you can dip in and out of these activities throughout the week as you wish. Don't forget to come and join us in the Virtual Book Club for Kids Facebook Group where you can join 6000+ others sharing activities and ideas for bringing books alive with children each week.
Winter themed Literacy Activities
Snowflake Swat Letter Game from Preschool Powol Packets
Snowball Sight Words on the Sticky Table from Views from a Step Stool
Snow Day Inspired Alphabet Writing Tray from School Time Snippets
The Snow Day Book Related Pre-Writing Sensory Tray from Growing Book by Book
Winter Themed Arts and Crafts
Puffy Paint Melted Snow Man from Messy Little Monster
Easy Colourful Paper Towel Snowflakes from Toddler Approved
Coffee Filter Snowflakes from Mama Smiles
Winter Science and STEM
Winter Science Investigation - why grit the roads - YOU ARE HERE
Let's Build Snowflakes from JDaniel4's Mom
Melting Snowball Estimations from My Storytime Corner
Winter Themed Play Ideas
Snow Tea Party from Teach Beside Me