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I figured this recipe out by accident while trying to come up with a recipe for something I'll share in a few more days (once I get the photos of it), but immediately realized that it was a VERY fun and NEW play recipe.  Just like real snow it is puffy and cold and the best part is that it re-puffs once you compress it several times (somewhere around an hour in it starts to lose steam, but for that hour it's REALLY FUN!)

A new sensory play recipe for Magic Puffing Snow - it slowly puffs up and will even re-puff after it's been compressed.  From Fun at Home with Kids


It actually has two stages.  The first is thin and smooth like cloud dough.  You can sculpt things with it and S enjoyed making a winterscape.  It is highly moldable, despite being crumbly - it is very reminiscent of cloud dough.  In fact, it took awhile before S believed that it wasn't cloud dough, hahaha!

A new sensory play recipe for Magic Puffing Snow - it slowly puffs up and will even re-puff after it's been compressed.  From Fun at Home with Kids

When your child has tired of playing with it in the cloud-dough-esque stage, they can sprinkle the citric acid powder over the surface of the dough and begin mixing it in with their hands.  Please note that citric acid can sting cuts.  It is the citric acid in lemon juice that causes it to sting broken skin, so please be sure not to play in it if you or your child have any cuts on your hands.  It doesn't actually harm you or anything (nor does lemon juice) but it certainly doesn't feel nice!  :)

A new sensory play recipe for Magic Puffing Snow - it slowly puffs up and will even re-puff after it's been compressed.  From Fun at Home with Kids

It puffs slowly over the space of a minute or two, so it's very hard to capture on film.  But this should at least give you a sense for the texture of the Puffing Snow.  You can play with it and compact it and watch it grow up again.  It will continue to react for about an hour before the reaction is spent and it no longer puffs.  Here's a super short (8 second!) video of the texture:


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To make your own Magic Puffing Snow, you'll need:

Baking Soda (aka Sodium Bicarbonate)
Shampoo (we used this Unscented Baby Shampoo )
Water
Liquid Watercolors or food coloring (optional)
Plastic Snowflakes (optional)

In a large cake pan (or other container), measure out 3 cups of baking soda and use your hands (or your child's hands) to break up any clumps.  Measure out 1/4 cup shampoo and add 1-2 drops of food coloring OR 1/8 cup blue liquid watercolors and stir them until combined.  Add the colored shampoo to the baking soda and using a spoon or your hands (or your child's hands) mix until completely combined.  Finally add 5 Tablespoons of water and mix until completely combined.  The dough should be crumbly, but hold together if compacted.  

In this state, you can play with it for quite awhile building and sculpting.  Once you're ready for it to start puffing, sprinkle 1/4 cup citric acid evenly over the top of the dough and mix it until well combined.  It will start puffing up within about a minute and continue for around 1 hour.

For more fun, once you are completely done, add scoops of the dough to a bowl of water and enjoy some blue foaming action!


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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. a good source for citric acid can be unsweetened KoolAid mixes... when I've made puff paints certain scents will bubble up - it's because of the citric acid.

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    1. Absolutely! Though I'm not sure how much each packet contains, so you'd have to experiment a bit to find out how many packets you'd need to add.

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    2. Just remember that KoolAid will STAIN. So be sure that it isn't going anywhere first.

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  2. So, what's left at the end of this reaction? I loved it, by the way! My girls...well...maybe when they grow up a bit. :)

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    1. Sodium citrate, water, and carbon dioxide...plus the shampoo. :) Bummed your girls didn't like it, but I'm glad you did! ;)

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  3. Fascinating! We enjoyed the melting snowmen today. If I can find some citric acid I'm sure my kids will like this too!

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    1. Awesome! We looooove the snowmen! Thank you so much! :) :) :)

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    2. Check the canning supply section of the grocery store or Walmart for citric acid

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  4. Can you share the Science behind this? Sounds endothermic....

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    1. You're correct! It's an endothermic reaction between the baking soda and citric acid. It produces carbon dioxide gas, which produces the puffing. Since there's not added water and there is added shampoo, the reaction moves more slowly (thus the hour or puffing from carbon dioxide gas slowly being created). Hope that helps!

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  5. We're planning to do this with our playgroup tomorrow, but I don't have any shampoo in the house (don't ask). Do you know if Dr. Bronner's Magic pure castile liquid soap will work instead? Dishwashing liquid? Thanks for the great ideas!

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    1. Hmmm, I think it might just puff a little faster since it probably has more water content than shampoo. It'll definitely still react, but it might be foamier than the photos here. :)

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  6. I just stumbled across your site this morning while doing a search....long story, but I immediately gravitated to this activity. I sent the link off to my son's daycare as I knew today was the last day of "S" week and I thought snow play would be a lot of fun. Well...the pictures are amazing and the kids had a WONDERFUL time. I was so inspired that I took time during my lunch to place an amazon order for some of the 'staple' supplies that you seem to use in a lot of your activities (like the basil seeds and the liquid watercolors). As a working Mom I try to find special things to do when we have time at home and I'm really excited to try some of your activities!

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    1. HOORAY! I'm so glad to hear it! That's awesome - we also have a book with the best of the blog + 50% brand new activities if you guys are enjoying what you see here. Thank you so much for the kind note!!!! <3

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  7. can't wait to try this. Thank you!

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  8. Hi, you are fabtastic and I wish you were my mummy! Any ideas on replacing shampoo to make it 'edible'?

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    1. Aw, thank you!!!! Unfortunately even if I could come up with an edible substitute for that one, the baking soda still wouldn't be safe for the littles to ingest. :( It's pretty hard to safely create edible things that bubble....

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    2. Ok, so 'edible' I see as not going to cause a major problem if it goes into the mouth, so won't taste good if a little is 'tasted' on fingers but not by the handful. What does the shampoo do? Anyway, you are the expert and if there was an alternative you would have got there! Know many people with children who cannot help but try things so am trying to find fun alternatives with store cupboard items...

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    3. The shampoo makes it so it "puffs". Yeah, I try to make things edible as often as possible (the site is full of edible recipes, as is my book - 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids), but in some cases it's just not possible. :(

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  9. Brilliant idea for the Christmas season, especially here in Australia where snow for Christmas is just not a reality ;) Thank you! Will do this with my 5yo he comes back this week.
    I have both of your books coming from his grandmother as presents this year too :)

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    1. Hooray!!!! So glad to hear it! And we rarely get snow in Seattle, WA either. I love snow, so I'm kind of bummed about it -- though I'm not sure I could handle living in one of those places that regularly gets snowed in for weeks at a time. Thank you so much for purchasing the books! I hope you and your little guy have a ton of fun with them! <3

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  10. These projects are so awesome. I have 2 girls a 9 year old and a 1 year old and can not wait to try some of these aactivities. How can I can I stay updated on anything new that you come up with?

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    1. Thank you so so much! <3 I am afraid most of my attention is on my book-writing career at the moment, but if you follow me on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/acitr) or Facebook (www.facebook.com/FunatHomewithKids) you'll see any updates!!! :) :) :)

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  11. hi there, I wanna make fake snow that will last at least 5 hours LOL - thanks for the recipe - pls advise, once all the steps are done with - how long will the dough continue looking that way ... no playing with it or mixing ..? Thank u kindly

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    1. It would probably last about an hour. If you don't sprinkle the citric acid, it won't start reacting though -- so if you wanted to just get it ready ahead of time, keep the citric acid separate and seal the dough in an airtight bag or container. Otherwise to keep it going for 5 hours, you'd want to add a batch of new dough in about every hour and mix it into what you've already got going.

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  12. Thank you! This will be great for January when the tempsun can make it too cold to go outside.

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