Kids love snow! They love playing in the snow, sled riding, building forts, and snowman, and of course the fun snowball fights. Kids love hearing the weatherman predict a large snowstorm because that 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? Kids Play and Create conducted snowflake research for kids. Find the answers to your questions with these snowflake facts for kids, preschoolers, elementary school, and middle school kids.
What is Snow?
Snow is small flakes of ice that fall down 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. To snow, the temperature must be below 32 degrees.
In order to snow the air temperature must be low 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 in places that get really cold. These places include 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. Each snowflake is made up of about 200 ice crystals. 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 6 sides.
On average snowflakes fall from the sky at 3-4 miles per hour.
Close to 80% of the world’s freshwater supply comes from snow and ice.
Snow is not actually white, but clear. It looks white because of the way the light reflects off of the ice crystals.
Snow didn’t always look white. When coal was used widespread 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 the air pollution.
Different Types of Snow
Thundersnow is when it snows while it is thunder and lightning.
Watermelon snow is snow with algae growing on it. The algae is a reddish color. It is mostly found in the Canadian Rockies.
Snowstorms and Blizzards
Heavy snowfalls are called snowstorms. On average there are around 105 snowstorms a year that hit the US. Billions of snowflakes fall in every snowstorm.
Heavy snowfalls with high winds over 35 miles per hour with limited visibility are called blizzards.
When the weatherman predicts a blizzard is coming people buy more cakes, candy, and cookies than any other food.
Snowflake Facts for Kids
Snow at the North and South Poles reflect heat into space. The snow acts like a mirror from the sun. The light bounces off of the snow and travels into space.
The most snowfall over a year was in Mount Rainier in the state of Washington. It snowed 1,224 inches from February 19th, 1971- February 19th, 1972.
The most snow to fall in a 24 hour period was 76 inches in Silver Lake Colorado in 1921.
The largest snowman was 122 feet tall. It was built-in Maine in 2008.
The largest snow sculpture ever built was in Heilongjiang Province China in 2008. It was 656 feet long and 115 feet 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 Record for the longest seasonal winter road (Only functional during winter months). It is 467 miles long and connects Gillam Manitoba to Peawanuk Ontario Canada. The road closes in late March when the weather gets warmer.
The most popular activity for kids to do in the snow is to build a snowman!
Check out these snow activities for kids
Water Bottle Snowflake Craft Click Here
DIY Pretend Snow Recipes Click Here