Catching Snowflakes Is A Childhood Rite Of Passage

Updated: Feb 25

Please, let it snow! I know not everyone agrees, but I am hoping we get a few beautiful snowfalls this winter.

Catching snowflakes on your tongue is a childhood rite of passage. (Photo via Shutterstock)

And when we do, head out and catch some snowflakes — for fun and for science!


For fun


Everyone has done it, and I hope they still do, no matter their age. All you have to do is tip your head back, stick out your tongue and try to catch a snowflake in your mouth.


You can try on your own and enjoy the cold sensation of a delicate flake melting on your tongue. Or get your whole family outside to see who can catch one first. Who will be the first to catch five?


For science


To take a closer look at snowflakes before they melt or join a pile on the ground, simply put a piece of black construction in the freezer. Then, when it is snowing, grab your frozen sheet of paper and head outside. Once your paper is full of flakes, you can return it to the freezer to inspect later. Or, you can find a sheltered spot outside and take a closer look right away. If you have a magnifying glass handy, use it to get an even closer look.


Do it again


Keep a journal of what you observe. Then put another sheet of black paper in the freezer so you are ready for next time. And when it snows again, catch some more snowflakes, for fun and for science. What differences do you notice? Are the flakes small or large? Are they falling fast or slow? Straight down or at an angle? What type of snow is easiest to catch with your mouth? What differences do you notice when you look with a magnifying glass? Have fun discovering each time it snows!


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Story written by interpretive naturalist Angela Rafac.