Snow Day!

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In this activity (on pages 4-5), learners make fake snow by adding water to the super-absorbant chemical from diapers, sodium polyacrylate. Different types of fake snow can be made by varying the amount of water added to the chemical. Learners can observe the different combinations with a magnifying glass. Some background chemistry is included in the "Where's the Chemistry?" box on page 5. The introductory paragraphs on page 4 explain that this fake snow is not the same as the stuff in the movies, which is made from hexylene glycol liquid in a snow machine.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
1 cent - $1 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Type:


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons sodium polyacrylate, can be purchased online or in baby diapers
  • ~8 tablespoons distilled water
  • Magnifying glass
  • 5 small clear plastic plates
  • 3 wooden stir sticks
  • 3 plastic cups (5 ounce)
  • Measuring spoons (1/4 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon)


  • Engineering and Technology
    • Engineering
      • Chemical Engineering
      • Metallurgy and Materials Engineering
  • Physical Sciences
    • States of Matter
      • Liquids

Informal Categories

  • Photography and Film/Video


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch


Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Jaworek-Lopes, Christine


  • All rights reserved, American Chemical Society, 2010