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Snow Globes

 

Today's Snack: Let's make edible snowballs! First, wash your hands! Then, with a large spoon or an ice-cream scoop, pack as much vanilla ice cream as you can into a one-cup measure. Scoop it out into your clean hands. Form into a perfect ball. Work quickly so it doesn't melt! Roll in flaked coconut or mini white chocolate chips. Now place it on waxed paper on a plate or in a dish and freeze for a few minutes. Don't throw these snowballs - put 'em in a bowl, grab a spoon, and eat 'em!

 

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Supplies:

 

Glass jar or bottle with screw-top lid

(The globe-shaped, 13.5-oz., plastic Coca-Cola bottles available at Christmastime are perfect for this. Or use a clean, empty baby-food jar or other small, rounded glass jar with tight-fitting lid)

 

Distilled water or tap water

 

A few drops of bleach

 

A few drops of glycerin (available from a pharmacy)

 

White or silver glitter or foil snowflake cutouts

 

Waterproof glue (such as Crazy Glue) or silicone

 

Ribbon or paint to conceal the cap

 

 

Whether or not the weather outside is frightful, you can make a wintry snow scene in a bottle for a mini-blizzard on command.

 

If you are able to find a plastic or non-rusting metal figure to glue onto the inside of the lid, so that the "snow" falls down on it, that makes an even better snow globe. Search at a hobby store for a plastic mini-evergreen tree, a deer, a penguin, a mountainside cabin or other wintry objects. You can make them "stand taller" by first gluing a cork to the inside of the lid, and then gluing the object onto the cork. Remember to use waterproof glue!

 

Or just make a plain globe to celebrate the slow swirling of snow. Fill the globe with distilled or tap water almost, but not quite, to the top. Measure in a small quantity of glitter or foil cutouts. You might want to experiment with the quantity first so that it's not too much or too little. Try a quarter-teaspoon to start.

 

Then add a few drops of household bleach to keep the water pure, and a few drops of glycerin to make the "snow" fall more slowly.

 

Screw the lid on fairly tight. Shake your snow globe once, to make sure you like the effect. If you do, then screw the lid on as tight as you can, and go around the outside edge with a sealing "ring" of silicone. Let dry.

 

The reason for the silicone "ring" is to keep your snow globe from leaking. It will also help a lot if you store it with the lid side up. Be sure to store your snow globe in a place where, if it does leak in the future, it won't damage any furniture. Putting it inside a Styrofoam bowl is a good solution.

 

Also store it out of direct sunlight; it's not impossible that strong sunlight shining through a window and through the water in your snow globe could possibly ignite something, the way light shining through a magnifying glass can start a fire - so never store a snow globe on a windowsill!

 

When the silicone is dry, conceal the seam and beautify the lid with ribbon or acrylic paint, perhaps in black to make it "disappear" from the snow scene.

 

A little science note: your snow globe illustrates something you can observe in real life about falling snow. Snow doesn't fall straight down, does it? It takes a while to fall, and it swirls around a little bit, too. Why is that? Because the atmosphere from which snowflakes fall has thickness, even though it's merely air.

 

Just as you add a little glycerin to the water to make your glitter or foil cutouts "fall" more slowly, the atmosphere has volume to it that makes snow fall slower than it would otherwise. Then the wind can blow it this way and that, swirling it around and exposing it to different temperatures at different heights. That's how it can be that each and every snowflake is a different shape. Each individual snowflake has a different "journey" to the Earth, and its shape is influenced by wind and temperature as it falls.

 

Science and snowflakes: they're both pretty . . . COOL!!!

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Holidays & Seasons 35 2008

 

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