A fun book-inspired activity for a winter day, this Fizzy Science Sensory Tray inspired by the children’s class, The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats.
Fizzy Snowy Day Sensory Bin
This week’s Virtual Book Club for Kids’ selection is The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, a sweet and visually arresting book that follows Peter through an urban winter wonderland, exploring all of the wonderful qualities of snow. Keats’ imaginative and playful storytelling are equally matched with the beautiful illustrations that bring The Snowy Day to life. Wispy cotton clouds, bright Scandinavian-patchwork patterns, and bright blocks of color add visual interest – but the first thing most children notice about this book is the colorful snow!
The unexpected blotches of color throughout the snowbanks in The Snowy Day are the inspiration behind today’s sensory meets science activity.
We start off with an erupting color-surprise snow bin, a powder white bin that unexpectedly bubbles with color when a bit of vinegar is added.
But, the exploration doesn’t stop once all of the fizzing does – we then use that pretty mix of colors to create a textured piece of snowy art! I love how bits of the wet baking powder stuck to the paper to form crunchy little mounds of snow. For now, we have left our art as-is but I think it would be great to take it a step further and add drawings or collage materials to it.
This simple sensory bin took less than 2 minutes to set up (including finding the materials around the house) but my daughter enjoyed it for at least 20 minutes – and there was enough interest and materials left over to recreate the same tray set-up again and again.
Of course, you could make a giant sensory bin with this concept like we did when we made our Fizzy Valentine’s Day bin, but using a cake pan worked perfectly for us.
I usually use baking soda in these types of activities, but I had a giant bin of baking powder that I needed to use up – I accidentally grabbed it instead of cornstarch months ago and it was nearing it’s expiry date. It worked just as well as baking soda, so use whatever you have on hand (or need to use up!)
Materials for a Fizzy Snow Sensory Bin
- Baking soda or baking powder
- Individual Kool-Aid packets
- Small baster or eye dropper
- Cake pan (9″x13″)
- White paper or cardstock
- Small container for vinegar
Tip: you can swap out the Kool-aid for powdered tempera paint, but I liked the bright colors and added scent to help balance the strong vinegar smell.
How to Make a Fizzy Erupting Sensory Tray
Sprinkle some Kool-Aid powder in the bottom of your cake pan.
I used about 1/4 teaspoon of each of 3 colors – there was plenty left-over in the little packet for future activities (or to remake the tray again and again).
Cover the Kool-Aid powder completely with baking powder or baking soda, about 1 1/2 to 2 cups.
Carefully set out the pan of “baking powder snow” along with a small container of vinegar and a baster. (You may also want to keep a towel close by.)
Show your child how to use the baster – squeezing it, then slowly releasing to draw the vinegar into the baster. This is a great hand strength activity and it also encourages kids to control their impulses as they initially will love the feeling of squeezing the baster, but if they want to have a dramatic “eruption,” they need to wait until the baster is properly positioned.
Have your child squeeze the baster over the baking powder tray and watch the “snow” magically bubble up in an unexpected eruption of color.
My daughter loves doing plain baking soda and vinegar eruptions, but this was a welcome delight! She was so excited to reveal all of the colors and it was enchanting to watch them mix and form a pretty “snow puddle.”
She worked carefully to “melt” as much of the snow as possible for over 10 minutes before we moved on to the optional art portion of our activity.
We simply pressed a white piece of paper onto the top of the tray and then lifted it straight up. After drying it on a kitchen tray, the art resembled the colorful snow banks in the story.
Pin this Surprise Color Explosion Sensory Bin:
Grab your free printable for our fizzy snow science activity and art project:
This is such a fun and easy snowy day activity – use a small cake tray for one child, or a giant bin for several children. Either way, this magical fizzy snow experiment is guaranteed to delight!
For more fun activities inspired by Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day, check out:
Snow Themed Alphabet Sensory Bin – The Educators’ Spin On It
Snowball Name Fight – Rainy Day Mum
Snowball Number Recognition Game – School Time Snippets
Bring In the Snow! – Mama Smiles
Snowstorm in a Bag– JDaniel4’s Mom
Snowy Day Sticky Table for Toddlers – Toddler Approved
Easy Winter Toddler Art – Messy Little Monster
Snow Science Explorations – Inspiration Laboratories
Winter Science: Fizzing Snowmen – Teach Beside Me
Painting in the Snow with 3 Ingredient Snow Paint – Views From a Step Stool
Painting on Fake Snow – Toddler Approved