Monday, March 15, 2010

Making Leprechaun Snow From Diapers

Borrowing another idea from Steve Spangler's Leprechaun Science Kit ,today, we made leprechaun snow. Making your own, green tinted, polymer snow, is easy enough - though I won't kid you, this is a project on the upper end of the mess factor scale.

All you need is some unused diapers, or pull ups (I had about a dozen left over from our potty training days), a few drops of green food coloring, and water (it's a good idea to chill it in the fridge ahead of time, for a more realistic snow feel). We've actually made fake snow from diapers before, but this is the first time we've tried making it green.

Harvest the sodium polyacrylate (the powdery stuff), from inside the diapers. Sodium polyacrylate is a hydrophillic (water loving), polymer, and what makes the diapers absorbent. It is non-toxic, though not edible, and you probably don't want to breath it in. I covered my face with a towel when removing it from the diapers.

Cut the diapers open, and lift up the cotton layer. The polymer powder will be laying underneath. All you have to do is dump it off, into a bowl.

You will probably get some on your table, or counter too. Use a dry cloth to clean it off. If you use a damp cloth, you'll have a mess on your hands.

Once you've collected the powder, pour it into a glass for a nice effect. You can leave it in the bowl, but a glass affords a better view of the transformation. Add a few drops of green food coloring to your chilled water (it's a good idea to have about four times as much water, as powder).

Pour the water into the glass.

Scoop your "snow" out of the glass, preferably onto a sheet of plastic, and have fun.

We found, that our "snow" not only absorbed the water we spilled, but the rest of the water in our cup, too.

It doesn't really feel like snow, more like cold, squishy plastic, but it's an awful lot of fun to play with.

Supposedly, you can let it dry out, and use it again. I'll have to let you know on that one. Which reminds me, our leprechaun jewels, from yesterday, did end up a very pretty, light green.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Your kids don't look too convinced about this green snow. I think daughter would love this one though - it has a proper "WOW!" effect. I have to see if we have any diapers left for this experiment.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

It took them a few minutes to get into it. The boys liked watching it grow, but not getting it on their hands. I gave the younger girls some spoons, and they played with it for more than an hour, before I had to clean it up for lunch.

Ticia said...

We did this a few months ago and it took my kids a few minutes to get into it. I might have to let them try it outside this week. With the added fun of the die.

Anabelle said...

thank you! this was awesome, my daughter is still playing with it!

Unknown said...

I love that you made it "fit" for St. Patty's day! I bought diapers for this purpose during our snow lessons, but we ran out of time to do it- I think we can do it now!

AGAIN- I just LOVE the way you think!