Kids love snow! They love playing in the snow, sled riding, building forts and snowmen, and having fun snowball fights.
Kids love hearing the weatherman predict a significant snowstorm, which means no school and a fun day in the snow. But what exactly is snow, and where does it come from? How do snowflakes form? Why does it snow, and what do snowflakes look like up close?
Find the answers to your questions with these snowflake facts for kids, preschoolers, elementary school, and middle school kids.
What is Snow?
Snow is tiny flakes of ice that fall to the earth. Snow is a form of precipitation like rain and sleet.
It snows when water in the atmosphere freezes into crystals. These tiny ice crystals form together to make snowflakes.
The weather conditions have to be right for it to snow.
The air temperature must be below 32 degrees, and there must be a lot of moisture in the sky. For this reason, snow is common are areas of high latitudes, mountainous regions, and places that get cold.
These places include the northern states of the US, and even some southern states, Russia, Canada, Europe, Greenland, Antarctica, and many parts of Asia.
How Big is a Snowflake?
The size of a snowflake depends on how many ice crystals connect together. When the temperatures hover around 30-32 degrees, the snowflakes will be larger, and snowflakes will be smaller when it’s freezing out. Why?
The size of a snowflake depends on how many ice crystals connect together. When it is warmer, the ice crystals melt and become sticky. As they fall from the sky, they stick to other snowflakes creating a larger snowflake.
When it’s freezing, the ice crystals stay frozen. They do not connect to other snowflakes as they fall, creating smaller snowflakes you see.
On average, each snowflake is created with approximately 200 ice crystals.
Snow Facts for Kids
Snowflakes have six sides. Many people say that no two snowflakes are exactly alike. However, there is no scientific proof of this. Up close, snowflakes have a hexagon-like shape. A hexagon has six sides.
Snowflakes fall from the sky at 3-4 miles per hour. They fall faster during blizzard conditions.
Approximately 80% of the world’s freshwater supply comes from snow and ice.
Snow is not white but clear in color. It looks white because of how light reflects off the ice crystals. This is similar to polar bears. A polar bear’s fur is transparent and looks white because of how light reflects off of it.
Snow didn’t always look white. When coal was used widely in factories and homes, a lot of coal dust traveled through the air.
The coal dust was absorbed in the clouds, and when it snowed, it often looked gray from air pollution.
Different Types of Snow
Thundersnow is when it snows during a thunder and lightning storm.
Watermelon snow is snow with algae growing on it. Watermelon snow is sometimes called blood snow, pink snow, or snow algae. The snow is a reddish-pink color, like watermelon, and has a sweet smell.
You should not eat watermelon snow.
Watermelon snow can be found in coastal polar regions worldwide.
Snowstorms and Blizzards
Heavy snowfalls are called snowstorms. On average, the United States sees 105 snowstorms a year. Billions of snowflakes fall in each snowstorm.
Heavy snowfalls with high winds over 35 miles mph with limited visibility are called blizzards. Blizzards can be very dangerous.
Heavy snow, wind, and frigid temperatures make it unsafe to be outside during a blizzard. It is important to stay inside and off the roads and wait until the blizzard passes.
When the weatherman predicts a blizzard is coming, people stock up on more cakes, candies, and cookies than any other food. This is because sweets make people feel comforted.
Snowflake Facts for Kids
Snow at the North and South Poles reflects heat into space. Snow at the North and South Poles acts like a mirror to the sun. Light bounces off the snow and travels into space.
According to the Weather Channel, the record for the most snow in one year was 95 feet (1,140 inches). It was recorded at Mount Baker Ski in Washington state between July 1, 1998, and June 30, 1999.
The most snow to fall in 24 hours was 76 inches. It was recorded in Silver Lake, Colorado, in 1921.
The largest snowman ever built was 122 feet tall. It was built in Maine in 2008.
The largest snow sculpture was in Heilongjiang Province, China, in 2008. The sculpture created was an Olympic landscape. It was 656 ft long and 115 ft tall. It took 600 sculptors from 40 countries to build it.
The snowiest place in the US is Stampede Pass in Washington State. On Average, it snows 430 inches a year.
The Wapusk Trail holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest seasonal winter road (only functional during winter). It is a467 miles long and connects Gillam, Manitoba, to Peawaunk, Ontario, Canada. The road closed in late March when the weather gets warmer.
Fun Snow Activities with Kids
Building a snowman: Building a snowman is the most popular activity for kids when it snows. Rolling two or three large balls of snow, stacking them on top of each other, then adding final details such as a scarf, hat, eyes, arms, and a carrot nose.
Going on sledding. Taking kids to a park with hills and riding down with a sled after a snowstorm is a favorite among families.
Snowball fight: A snowball fight is a top pick among kids after a snowstorm is having a snowball fight.
Looking for more ways to have fun this winter? Check out these winter activities for more fun ideas.