Snowstorm in a Jar Science Experiment

This post may contain affiliate links. That means if you click and buy, I may receive a small commission (at zero cost to you). Please see my full disclosure policy for details.

Learn how to make a snowstorm in a jar with this hands-on science experiment. With only a few steps, you’ll be able to create snow while staying warm indoors!

Snowstorm in a Jar Featured Image

Since we don’t get snow in SoCal (at least not where I live), it’s difficult to explain the concept of snow to my kids. But in the wintertime, you can’t help but hear about snow.

Hence, my children are very curious about snow, especially what snow looks like falling from the sky.

Snowstorm in a jar science experiment is perfect for showing your kids what a snow blizzard looks like! Plus, it’s just a cool STEM experiment to do with your kids.

snowstorm-in-a-jar-experiment

How to Make Snowstorm in a Jar

Materials:

Step-by-Step Instructions:

1. Fill up ¼ of the jar with water.

2. Add about a teaspoon of white paint in the water and stir to mix. The mixture should look like milk. If necessary add more paint.

snowstorm-in-a-jar-mix-water-and-paint

3. Fill up the rest of the jar with baby oil. Let the water and paint mixture settle to the bottom.

snowstorm-in-a-jar-oil-and-water-separate

4. Add glitter in the mixture if desired (not necessary but it makes the snowstorm prettier).

snowstorm-in-a-jar-add-glitter

5. Add a few drops of blue food coloring if desired (to simulate the color of the sky).

6. Let the water/paint mixture settle on the bottom. 

7. Break up an Alka-Seltzer tablet and drop the broken up pieces one at a time into the jar. 

8. Watch the magic happen!

snowstorm-in-a-jar-storm-happening

The Science Behind the Snowstorm in a Jar

There are a few science lessons to teach your kids here:

  1. Oil and water don’t mix. The water molecules are polar, which means they have a small positive charge at one end and a small negative charge at the other end. Therefore, they are attracted to each other like a magnet and form strong bonds. Oil molecules are non-polar, and therefore they are more attracted to each other than water molecules.
  2. Oil is less dense than water. Therefore, the water mixed paint sinks to the bottom, while the water remains on top.
  3. When you drop Alka-Seltzer tablets, which contains baking soda, into the water, the reaction between the sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) and citric acid and hydrogen oxide (water) creates carbon dioxide gas. The bubbles filled with carbon dioxide gas push the water and paint mixture upward, but the oil exerts pressure downward and pushes the mixture back down – creating the snow effect.

I hope you and your kids have a lot of fun doing this experiment! Originally we did it without adding the blue food coloring, and it created more of a white winter effect. But we then added some blue food coloring and the kids loved seeing the blue “snow” as well.

 snowstorm-in-a-jar-blue

And that’s the beauty of the snowstorm in a jar experiment! You can do it more than once! Just let the water and paint mixture settle down again before you add more Alka-Seltzer tablets.

Looking for more winter crafts and activities? Check out:

DIY Popsicle Stick Snowflake Ornaments
The Exploding Snowman Science Experiment
30+ Easy Christmas Crafts for Toddlers and Preschoolers

snowstorm-in-a-jar-science-experiment

20 thoughts on “Snowstorm in a Jar Science Experiment”

    1. It won’t work with aspirin, but you can use baking soda and citric acid if you have that? It’s like making a bath bomb. So you can mix 2 parts baking soda and 1 part citric acid, and add a little in to make the bubbles. Let me know if that helps!

      1. Hiiiii this was the most fun I’ve had in a long time with my kids I did pastel colors on black posterboard with the film canisters I gave my kids safety goggles and pretend hard hats just in case!!. I book marked your site.

    1. It should continue bubbling as long as you continue to add the Alka-Selzer tablet. There is probably a saturation point but that would take a long time to get to.
      If you make it at school and use up 1-2 Alka-Seltzer tablets, then the kid should be able to go home with it and continue to add more to make it bubble.
      The jar that you see in the post, I saved it so my kids can do it again. We took it out about 3 days later and added Alka-Seltzer tablets and food coloring and still worked!

    1. I actually wrote that in the instructions more for just clean up purposes. You can also put the Alka-Seltzer tablets on a piece of paper towel. But I can see how that’s confusing so I removed it. Thanks for pointing that out!

  1. I am doing this experiment as part of a Snow Day Fun Day in my classroom here in Florida. The irony is not lost on me! I tried the experiment today to plan ahead, but I encountered several problems. First, when I added the baby oil, The entire jar was very cloudy and never settled like the instructions said would happen. What could I have done incorrectly? The paint seemed to be all along the inside sides of the jar. Mine was never as clear as yours was in the pictures. Any suggestions?

    1. Hello! I am trying to think why this is happening and the only thing I can think of is … what kind of paint are you using? If it’s oil based paint then it would encounter this issue. Otherwise water and oil shouldn’t mix and so they should separate after they settle.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top