Brown cardboard packages are plentiful this time of year. Along with the treasures the boxes hold inside, there are often packing peanuts.
Our Vanishing Ghosts biodegradable packing peanuts activity was such a huge hit, we decided to use the packing peanuts in a new activity.
This time we used them for a fun winter STEM activity and created a Melting Snowmen STEM activity.
Packing peanuts are always a hit with kids. 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.
Packet Peanut Melting Snowmen Winter STEM Activity
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- 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.
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 water 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 activity 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.
Here’s the science behind the melting snowmen. 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.
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