Snow Globes

Snow-GlobesWant a fun (and easier-than-you-think) activity to try with your kids while they are on break from school?  Let’s make some snow globes.  Few things spark creativity in kids more than some interesting materials and the promise of creating something wonderful. It is likely that your kids will have come in contact with snow globes before…but also likely that they never imagined they could create their own at home.This activity is adapted from Boston Children’s Museum’s Beyond the Chalkboard website, a free resource for afterschool and other educators around the world.  Visit the Website by clicking here.

Materials:

  • 1 small glass or plastic jar per student (large baby food jars work well)
  • Water
  • Glitter
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Small recycled materials (See Preparation, below)
  • Pipe thread tape (5-6 rolls – found in any hardware store)
  • Dish soap (you only need a little)
  • Toothpicks (or plastic forks)
  • Spoons

Preparation:

The recycled materials will be used to create the “scene” that is placed inside the snow globe.   These objects need to be small enough to stand up in the glass or plastic jars, and narrow enough to fit on the inside of the jar lids.  And because they will be in water and other liquids, they should be made of plastic.  Some non-corrosive metals might work too, but plastic is the safest bet.  If you are having trouble finding good, fun objects for the snow globes at home, you can purchase inexpensive items at dollar stores.

Are all glitters created equal?  Not quite.  Many will work well, but some will float in water, while others will sink too quickly.  Test your glitter out beforehand to make sure it does what you want it to do.

Globe It Up:

Ask your kids if they have ever played with a snow globe before.  What is usually in them (this should include the objects that make the “scene”; a liquid; and “snow”)?  Find pictures online to show them if they have never seen a snow globe before and you have none at home.  Then, make your snow globes:

  1. Plug in the hot glue gun (you should be in charge of this unless your children are a little older).  You’ll use this to glue your objects to the inside part of the lid of your jar.
  2. Create your scenes.  Think about what you would like to be inside your snow globe.  Are you creating something that represents your family?  Your favorite team?  Take the time to be creative and make your snow globes personal.
  3. Before you glue anything, test to see if the objects fit inside the jar by placing the lid on a table (inside facing up), placing the objects on the lid, and screwing the jar onto the lid.  If the objects won’t fit, rethink your scene.  When everything is in place, glue the objects to the lid and allow time to dry.
  4. Tightly wrap some of the pipe thread tape around the threads of the jar—3 or 4 turns around the jar should do.  The tape can be pressed down and will adhere to itself—this tape provides a water-tight seal between the lid and the jar.  Alternatively, you can glue your jars shut, though this is not recommended (if you glue them shut, you can’t get them open again!).
  5. After the glued “scenes” have dried for at least a few minutes, put water in your jars.  Not too much – remember that the objects glued onto your lid will displace some of the water.  Test your water level by screwing the lid on and see if you need more or less.  If you have to test a few times, add a couple more turns of pipe thread tape.  When you have the right amount of water, dip a toothpick (or plastic fork) into a bit of dish soap and touch the soapy end of the toothpick to the surface of the water in the jar, so that only a little bit of soap gets in.  This will help the glitter sink after you add it.
  6. Add your glitter, but easy does it!  Start with just a little glitter, screw the lid on and shake the snow globe up.  Are you happy with the results?  The glitter may be clumpy at first, but that will change.  If you want more “snow”, you can add more until you are satisfied.
  7. Screw on your lids and enjoy your snow globes!

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