Color the Snow

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Create you own winter wonderland with colorful buckets of snow.

By Amanda Formaro

This is an easy and entertaining way to teach kids about primary and secondary colors while they giggle and smile.

What You Need:

  • food coloring in the primary colors, red, blue and yellow
  • empty squirtable, clear plastic bottles (syrup, shampoo, etc)
  • tap water
  • clear plastic containers, tubs, or buckets
  • snow
  • towels

What You Do:

Have the kids bundle up and go outside to gather containers of snow. Be sure that they get clean white snow, free of dirt, bird seed, tree needles, etc. You will need one full container for each child doing the activity. Inside, cover work surface with dry towels. Place a container of snow in front of each child. Be sure to have a container for yourself to demonstrate how this activity is done.

The Primary Colors
Begin by filling three clear squirt bottles almost full with tap water. Add 4-5 drops of primary food colors, one color per bottle, to create three bottles of red, blue and yellow colored water. Place the tops tightly on the bottles. Using your demonstration container, squirt each color into the snow as pictured. Allow the children to do the same with their own containers. Be sure to identify each color as they color their snow.

The Secondary Colors
You can introduce the secondary colors by demonstrating on your snow. Squirt some red onto a section of your blue snow, you have created purple. Do the same by adding blue to the yellow and yellow to the red. Allow the children to experiment, color and have fun. The creations that come of it are usually quite pretty and each one is unique!

Now that you have identified the primary and secondary colors, you can further demonstrate by mixing any of the primary food colors together in clear water. Using a simple glass jar, fill it 3/4 full with tap water. Put 4 drops of red food coloring into the water. The children usually marvel at the glory of the swirling colors. Let them! After a few moments, as the red begins to settle, add 4 drops of yellow food coloring. Again, the children will enjoy the mingling of the colors, so take this opportunity to point at the colors in the jar and comment how the yellow is making the red turn into orange. The final step is to allow one of the children to stir the mixture, turning the water completely orange. Use a funnel to pour the contents of the jar into on of the plastic squirt bottles. Repeat these steps with the other colors (blue+yellow = green, blue+red = purple).

Color Mixing with Water
Color Mixing with Water

Outdoor Fun
When your indoor activities are complete, your kids will probably be asking if they can color the snow outside. Why not! Identify an area in your yard that they can squirt, paint, and color to their heart’s content. After several hours, the colored snow will fade considerably as the water settles downward, but for a while their artwork will be visible. This activity is a lot of fun and reduces the chance of Cabin Fever spreading through your house this weekend.