Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Most adults (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) view snow as a horrible affliction of the winter season. It hinders traffic, it has to be shoveled off driveways, it's cold, it's wet--well it's something we deal with from December to March.

But kids see snow as magical! Snow represents a clean slate, where they can go out and have adventures, build snow forts and snow families, and hope that it snows enough to close down school.

The next time it snows, stop and appreciate what a marvel it is! I just finished reading this amazing book called The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht. Dr. Libbrecht is a physics professor at Caltech, and he also takes amazing photographs of individual snowflakes!

What exactly are snowflakes? Dr. Libbrecht explains that snowflakes are crystals of ice. They're not raindrops that have been frozen, but are born from cloud droplets that have turned to ice. It takes about 100,000 droplets to make a snowflake that's heavy enough to fall to the ground. [To explain the difference between a raindrop and a cloud droplet, Dr. Libbrecht explains that a droplet is about 100 times smaller than a raindrop and a million times lighter.

You can also explain to your child that all snowflakes have 6 sides. Why six? Because that's the way water molecules line up to make an ice crystal-they form hexagons. So while every snowflake starts out with six sides, the way the final shape of the snowflake looks depends on the temperature and humidity of the air as the snowflake floats through the sky.

Amazing! Be sure to pick up The Secret Life of a Snowflake so that you can learn more about how snowflakes are born. We have lots of other books about snow and winter too. Feel like being crafty at home or learning more about snowflakes online?

Make a 3D snowflake! These are super pretty-we have some hanging in our office.
Play in the Snowflake Factory where you can make digital snowflakes then make them melt or explode.
Visit Dr. Libbrecht's website to see more excellent snowflake pictures.
Visit SnowDays to create virtual snowflakes that will fall from the sky.

Look for these books the next time you come to the library!
Snow and Blizzards by Robyn Hardyman
The Secret Life of the Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht
Snow Amazing: Cool Facts and Warm Tales by Drake and Ann Love
Flakes and Flurries by Josepha Sherman
It's Snowy Today by Kristin Sterling

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.