Whack Those Winter Blues

Winters here in Pennsylvania can be long, cold and dreary. Any activity that can break the monotony of the fifty thousand shades of gray in the bleak sky is most welcome. During last year’s particularly cold and snowy winter, my husband came up with one of those activities. It was such great fun that we have been enjoying it again this year. Here are some easy steps you can take to enjoy it too!

Collect small objects from around the house. Old keys and buttons, little toys, accessories and coins work well. Choose items of different textures, shapes and weights.

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Place the objects into a container. We used a plastic sled, but any large container will do. A shallow one will work best.

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We checked the temperature outside and it was 14 degrees, a perfect temperature for this activity!

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Place the container outside and fill it with water.

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WARNING: Watched water never freezes.

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Send the kids to bed to dream icy dreams and check your container in the morning. (For added excitement, wish for snow!)

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Now for the final and most exciting part of the activity…

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Seriously, other than for the above photo op, we only let one child hold a hammer at a time. All other children stand back at a safe distance, are instructed in proper hammer use and are required to keep hammers below head level at all times. If you plan to try this at home, have a safe plan in place before you start letting hammers fly.

We began breaking up the ice outside.

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We then moved it into the tub.

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Some items were freed from the ice by hammers.

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Others were melted with warm water.

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Others melted on their own. The kids waited and watched until all items were free.

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While this activity is fun and therapeutic (if you hate winter as much as I do),

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there is also much to be learned.

Math

*counting
*sorting
*comparing size,shape and weight

Science

*solids versus liquids
*reading a thermometer (We froze an old thermometer and read temp before and after)

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*freezing point of water
*predicting which objects will sink and which will float
*observing the differences in the way the ice forms around different types of objects
*comparing melting time between objects melted on their own and those melted with warm water
*comparing seasons (couldn’t do this experiment outside in summer)

Extension Ideas:

Geography

*Find places on a map or globe that are cold year round
*Discuss the north and south poles and the equator and how they relate to weather

Social Studies

*How would life be different for people who live in a cold climate year round? How would life be different for people who live where it is
always warm?

Writing

*Write or draw what you observed during the activity
*Write about what climate you would like to live in and why

DISCLAIMER: All photos were edited to make my bathroom look less old and dirty than it is. If you have a nice bathroom, you might want to do the whole activity outside. And definitely take every precaution with kids and hammers!

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