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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Our Lady of Snows ~ "COOL" Snow Science Fun!

We did a number of fun "snow" projects this past week. Our Lady of Snows feast day was Aug. 5th, so I thought I have a bit of wintery fun with the kids!!
Our Lady of Snows appeared to a man named John and his wife, as well as, Pope Liberius and sent snow from heaven to show the spot she wanted them to build a basilica.  With Mary's snow in mind I thought the kids would love to make "magic" snow. 
To see my post about Our Lady of Snows click here.

 You may or may not have heard of a material called polymer. It's a super absorbent material that can hold A LOT of liquid!!  I first discovered this material 14 years ago as a new mother with a daughter who had just fallen onto a toy and ripped her disposable diaper. That's right. Polymer is the stuff inside disposable diapers (no not the stinky stuff)!! So as a science loving homeschool mom I just had to take the opportunity to explore this new found material.

Sounds gross I'm sure, but the polymer in an unused diaper is no different than the polymer you can buy at your favorite homeschool resource site!! The big difference is price! You will pay over $5.00+S&H for a tiny bit of polymer when it's sold as a "magic snow" science experiment! A disposable diaper - $.30! 
If you don't use disposable diapers, buy one from a friend who does or pick one up in those vending machines in public changing areas.

So yes, I'm using a disposable diaper in a project to celebrate Mother Mary, but if that seems odd to you please feel free to buy the same thing with the name "Magic Snow".  : -D

I've done this experiment with my kids for a number of years, and it never stops amazing me!
As a warning: the first few times I tried this with the polymer from a diaper, the polymer was the tiny balls that were found in the diaper, but today the diaper "recipe" has changed. The polymer is now the cottony stuff!
All diaper brands have different "recipes" so you may want to try this first with the brand of diaper you have before you would try this with a class. For our most recent experiment (this week Aug. 2012) I tried it with  Huggies and Luves size 3 diapers. The polymer was the cottony stuff both times.

Please note: Before starting this experiment please explain to the kids that God made science and we use God's science to create neat things like the "magic snow". But Mary's snow was not a simple science trick. It was a miracle!! Only God can make snow to fall naturally from summer's warm sky! Our "magic snow" is just a science trick!

So to do this experiment remove the cottony material from a diaper.(it may be tiny balls in cheaper brands)
Place it into a container, one that's black works best. You can line a container with a black trash bag, too. 
 

Pour a cup of water onto the cotton. 

See how the Polymer soaks up the water and starts to look jello-y!  

Add another cup and the polymer gets even bigger and more jello-y. 
(You may need to stir it. We used a ruler) 

Let the kids touch it and feel it.
Watch for the giggles and screams!
I heard: "It feels like jello!!", "It looks like ice!!", "It looks like snow, can I make a snowball!!" (You can't make snowballs -BTW!)  And my favorite response was "You guys have GOT to try this!!! It's soooo cool!!"

We added up to 8 cups of water into one diaper worth of polymer before we decided it was getting too mushy, but it was still soaking up the water!! 



Now a little bit of the gorgeous jello-y crystals are sitting on my cabinet with a picture of Our Lady of Snows next to it! The kids still walk by it and stick their fingers into it and giggle!

By the way:  You can spread a little of the wet polymer out and let it dry. It turns back into cotton again. But it will take a few days or more depending on how wet it is! I imaging our huge bucket of wet polymer will take a long time to dry! ;-)


Making memories is always fun!!
God Bless.
~Jennifer

PS. I'll be back tomorrow with another fun snow experiment!

5 comments:

  1. Oh is that a fun science project!! My kids would love this. And for the record, I don't think Mary minds how you create your snow...diaper or mail order :) Way to go!

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    Replies
    1. Oh Thanks so much, Patty! I just had a feeling someone was going to tell me I'm nuts for using a diaper. And if I don't hear it from a follower, I'm sure I'll hear it from my 14 year old daughter! (all in good fun!) ;-) And in the words of my 8 year old daughter..."You guys have GOT to try this..." :-D God Bless.

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  2. Jennifer,
    It looks like real snow! I thought it was awesome! What child wouldn't like doing this? Thanks!

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  3. Hi Jennifer, what a cool project! I just learned the history on Our Lady of Snows and would love to visit the basilica one day.

    Our Lady of Snows, pray for us!

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  4. I agree... a really cool project! You have the best ideas! +JMJ+

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