Have your kids ever wondered why frost begins to appear in the morning as winter approaches? This easy frost experiment allows children to visually see how to make frost. This winter science experiment is a fun project for elementary age students in kindergarten, first grade, 2nd grade, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, and 6th graders! Plus, all you need for this frost in a can science experiment are a few simple materials! So try this winter science activities for preschoolers this January!
How to Make Frost
Do your kids love Frozen or maybe they loved Frozone in the Incredibles? The ability to create frost and ice at a single touch sounds like an amazing super power. Now, we couldn’t make frost in a single touch, but let me show you a simple way to create frost that is a great teaching opportunity. This frost experiment is great for kindergartners, grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6 students. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or homeschooler – add this to your winter science experiments to try!
To make your own frost you will need a couple simple materials you probably already have on hand:
- Tin cans – cleaned and remove sharp edges
- Ice – crushed or cubed will work
The Science Behind Frost and Salt/Ice Reactions
Salt lowers the freezing point of the ice. This causes it to pull heat from the air and tin can, significantly dropping the temperature on the surface of the tin can. Moisture from the air will freeze as it comes in contact with the cold surface of the can, leading to the creation of frost.
Frost in a can science experiment
In this experiment we wanted to explore the importance of salt in the frost creation process. To do this we set up a control, plus our experiment.
Our control consisted of a tin can filled with ice but no salt. We filled the other tin can with ice and salt sprinkled over all the ice. Then we sat back and watched.
Very quickly the tin can with the salt and ice mixture started getting colder. Over time the cold became intense and there was a bit of condensation on the tin but it wasn’t turning to frost and was so thin it was almost not there. The tin can was also hard to touch it was so cold, but even 15 minutes later we still had no frost.
We were stumped. The tin can with salt ice was so cold it stuck to my fingers when I went to empty the ice from it. The tin can with no salt was just cool. There was a significant difference in the temperatures, just no frost.
Frost in a can
Here is a close up. Just a very thin layer of condensation, but no frost build up or crystallization like we see in the frost outside.
Our how is frost formed experiment was a failure.
But scientists don’t fail, they examine, evaluate, investigate, then experiment again.
Making Adjustments and Learning from Failure
Winter science experiment
After our first make your own frost experiment failed to produce frost we discussed what was needed for frost to form. We had the tin cans that would conduct the cold. Having it stick to my fingers was proof of that. But something was missing.
It’s winter here, and winter in our neck of the woods is cold and very, very dry. After explaining this to the kids, I asked if they could think what was missing for our frost to form.
Very quickly they came up with the answer: humidity! Our air is lacking the humidity or moisture in the air that we needed to create frost.
We explored a few different ideas for how to adjust this variable in our experiment. We placed steamy cups of water near the tin cans. We tried adding water to our tin cans. We tried blowing on them. Changing all of those variables failed to produce frost. Then we decided to move the whole experiment to the washroom while someone was having a shower, and it worked!
Winter science Activities for Preschoolers
We finally created frost! We had beautiful little crystals and wonderful frost build up on the can.
It took a little experimentation and exploring the science, but going through this process of scientific experimentation made for a learning experience that will stay with my kids for a long time. They not only learned about how frost forms, but learned about our dry climate and why it is so dry in winter.
- S is for Snowman Ideas for a week-long theme
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Looking for more fun winter science projects for kids? We’ve got lots of fun ideas for you to try!
- Super Cool Snow Volcano Science Experiment
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- Melting Snowman Slime Recipe
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- Winter Marble Notecards created with science
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- How to Make Frost in a can- Winter Science Experiment
Looking for snowman worksheets and educational snowman activity ideas? You will love these resources!
- Snowman Tracing Letters A to Z
- Free Winter Writing Prompts PDF, preschool winter pre-writing worksheets, or these snowman writing prompts
- Snowman Printables Winter letter Find
- Build a Snowman Sequencing Worksheets
- Snowman Word Family Spinners
- Free Snowman Coloring Pages
- Snowman Beginning Sounds
- Winter Color by Letter
- Build-a-Snowman Winter CVC Words Activity
- Snowman Parts of Speech Winter Worksheets
- Arctic Animals Kindergarten Sight Words Game
- Hot Chocolate Game or Mitten Beginning Sounds Game
- Hot Cocoa Winter Rhyming Words Puzzles, winter rhyming words activity, or these hat winter themed rhyming words puzzles
- Snowflake Winter Compound Words Printables and Activities
- Self-Correcting Winter Boots Alphabet Game
- Mitten Blend Puzzles – Winter Activities for Kindergarten
- Winter Syllables Printable Activity
- Penguin Sight Word Worksheets
- Winter Math Telling Time Worksheets and Activities
- Snowman Addition Clip Cards
- Multiplication Snowman Activity
- Winter Snowballs Odd and Even Games Printable
- Snowman Counting Task Cards Activity
- Snowman Math Craft or this build a snowman math for practicing addition and subtraction
- Snowman Activities for Preschool – Count to 10
- Super cute Winter Counting Worksheets for preschoolers
- Hands-on Snowman Counting Activity for young learners
- Snowman Mulitiplication Puzzles
- Free Printable Snowman Counting Book
- Cute Snowman Shape Puzzles
- Winter Math Activity with Snap Cube Pattern Cards
- Hot Chocolate Math – Addition and Subtraction Fact Families
- Addition Mitten Math Matching game for Kindergartners
- Fraction Snowflakes Activity
- Winter Colors – Penguin Matching Game or this Mitten Match Game
- Mitten Winter Playdough Mats
- Penguin Printable Math Clip Cards for counting to 20
- Winter Math – Skip counting puzzles
- Hundreds Chart Winter Color by Number or these more simple winter color by number worksheets
- Snowman Worksheets working on place value
- Polar Animals Skip Counting Workshsets
- Snowman Worksheet pack with lots of pages of math, literacy, and more for 3-8 years-olds.
- Check out even more ideas in this Winter Theme
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- Simple Winter Coloring Pages
- Winter Worksheets for Preschoolers
- Don’t miss these fantastic Winter Read Alouds, fun Winter Picture Books, or these Winter Books for Preschoolers
- Roll and Dab Winter Activity Sheets or these winter printables to learn color words with bingo markers
- Winter Worksheets for Kindergarten and Preschoolers
- Arctic Animals Worksheets -huge pack with math and literacy skills for toddler, pre-k, kindergarten, and first graders
- Winter Birds Worksheet for working on letters, counting, addition, and more! (huge pack!)
- Penguin Life Cycle WOrksheet Pages
- Sequencing How to Build a Snowman Worksheets
Science for Kids
Looking for lots more fun, science experiments for kids? You’ve GOT to try some of these outrageously fun science experiments for kids! We have so many fun, creative and easy science experiments for elementary age children:
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- Colorful Capillary action science experiment (also known as walking water)
- Amaze kids with these 12 Hands on Science experiments with batteries
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- Colorful Candy Science Experiments
- Fun Water balloon science experiment that explores density
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- Simple Galaxy science project
- Easy and Fun Dancing Raisins Experiment
- Learn about weather as you find how to make a weather vane
- Eye opening Eye science experiments
- Easy-to- make Air pressure science project
- Amazing POP rocks science experiment is one of our all-time favorite science experiments we like to do during the summer are
- Stunning Chromatography Flowers are so pretty you’ll forget it was as science project!
- How to Make a Lava Lamp – super easy and SO cool!
- 30 Simple machines science projects kids will want to try
- Easy, fascinating, and colorful project answering Why do Leaves Change Color Experiment
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- 19 Edible science experiments – which delicious project will you try first?
- HUGE Free Solar System Unit (coloring pages, hands on science projects, worksheets, and more!)
- Pipe Cleaner Constellation Activity (As seen on Good Housekeeping!)
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- Amazing, Heat Sensitive, Color Changing Slime
- Life Cycles for Kids (from penguin to sunflower and spider to turkey we have LOTS of life cycles to explore and learn about)
- EASY, Colorful Oil and Water Science Experiment
- Kids will be amazed as you change colors of white flowers with this Dying Flowers Science Experiment
- This super cool Lego Zipline is fun and simple to make
- Human Body Project
- Check out this super cool look INSIDE a Volcano Project
- Exploding Watermelon – science experiment that explores potential and kinetic energy with a big WOW moment!
- Memorable Life Size Skeletal system science project – includes free printable template
- Find LOTS more Easy Science Experiments for kids of all ages!