Brown cardboard packages are plentiful in the winter. Along with the treasures the boxes hold inside, there are often packing peanuts as well.
Why not use those packing peanuts to keep the kids entertained?
Our first biodegradable packing peanuts activity was such a huge hit, we decided to use the peanuts again, this time in a fun winter STEM activity.
This simple Melting Snowman Activity is a huge hit with kids of all ages.
Packing peanuts are always fun for kids to play with.
Mine love to fill a large box with them and then snuggle into it.
They also have used toothpicks to build simple Styrofoam structures.
The starch packing peanuts that dissolve in water make this melting snowman activity lots of fun.
Melting Snowmen STEM Activity
Affiliate links have been provided below for your convenience. See my full disclosure here.
- Biodegradable Packing Peanuts
- Black & Orange Permanent Markers
- Small Bowl
Use permanent markers to draw a snowman face on each packing peanut. Remember, they MUST be biodegradable packing peanuts. (That means they are made of starch, not polystyrene.)
If your child is anything like mine, they will want to do this activity several times, so be sure to have plenty of snowmen ready.
(Our original activity was with vanishing ghosts.)
Once you have a collection of snowmen, for your snowman activity, it’s time to make them melt, with a bit of science “magic.”
Fill a small bowl with room temperature water.
Have your child place one snowman on top of the water and watch what happens.
Almost immediately you will start to see small bubbles appearing on the sides of your snowman. In minutes the snowman will completely melt right before your eyes!
Your results may depend on the type of biodegradable packing peanuts you use. Ours dissolved within just a couple minutes.
If it seems to be taking too long for the snowmen to melt, try using warm water to help speed up the process.
This melting snowman experiment would be fun for a Frozen-themed party. (Think Olaf’s song about summer.)
It would also be great at the end of winter/beginning of spring.
Why do Packing Peanuts Dissolve in Water?
Here’s the science behind the melted snowman activity. The new packing peanuts are made from biodegradable corn starch, which means they break down easily instead of just sitting in the garbage dump for years and years like the older style ones.
The water helps break them down even faster.
Regardless of when you do it, this melting snowman activity is sure to be a hit.
You may also like:
- Awesome Engineering Activities for Kids — My New Book, with over 50 fun STEAM activities
- Craft Stick Catapults
- Shaving Cream Paint Snowman
- The Science of Sledding
- Build a Snowman Phonics Pack from This Reading Mama
Originally published November 28, 2016.