I have been obsessed with Modern Parent Messy Kids' Indoor Snowman activity since I first laid eyes on it. Since I like to put my own spin on things, I thought I'd experiment a bit and see if I couldn't come up with a dough that would also work for building snowmen. I so enjoyed Learn Play Imagine's Erupting Candy Corn Foam Dough at Halloween that I was inspired to make a dough that would also erupt. About 12 iterations later, I had developed an erupting super foaming dough that I was really excited about. We've played with it a LOT since then. Here's the first of our activities using it!
Here's our cute little snowman.
Uh oh... S has started the melting/foaming reaction. He's lost his nose!
And now his head. It's almost all over for him.
In the place of the snowman, there's now a giant pile of icy cold frothy foam to play in!
This was maybe the fifth snowman she demolished. She had so much fun. It was pretty hilarious to watch her squeal with delight as the foam erupted and bits and pieces of the snowman became no more.
Once he's completely demolished, you have to search like a raccoon with your hands through that icy foam to rescue all his bits and pieces. So you can make yet another snowman, of course.
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To make your own Magic Foaming Snowman, you'll need the following:
Dish Soap (aka Washing Up Liquid)
First let's talk about the accessories. Anything waterproof will work fabulously. We used black brads for his eyes, and then I made a carrot nose out of orange foam (I glued it using hot glue to make a 3D carrot). I also cut pieces to make a little top hat out of black foam and hot glued them together. We grabbed two skinny little twigs from outside and we were ready to make our Foaming Dough!
In a bowl or other container, measure out two cups of baking soda and add 2 Tablespoons of salt. Mix throughly (little hands are very good at this). Add 1 tsp soap and mix it into the dough well. The dough should look crumbly. Next add 8 Tablespoons of water. If your dough will form a ball, you're all set. If it's still too dry and crumbly add water 1 Tablespoon at a time until you have a dough that molds into a ball. It will not feel like playdough - it's more smooshy and crumbly than that. But it should form into and hold a ball.
Make and decorate your snowman and once you're ready to transform him into a mound of icy cold foam, add your vinegar! It works best (i.e. creates the most foam) if you add a lot of vinegar at once. A squeezy bottle works best, but if you don't have one of those, pouring a cup filled with vinegar on him will also create a foamy explosion!
If you'd like to add color to your snowman, you definitely can. Add food coloring or liquid watercolors to the baking soda in the very first step and mix well before following the recipe as usual. We felt like going for a traditional snowman, but colored foaming dough is also a blast!
UPDATE: With the wild success of Disney's movie Frozen, my awesome friend Stephanie pointed out that I should show how easily our Magic Foaming Snowman can become a Magic Foaming Olaf! I used foam sheets as above to make Olaf features and here he is:
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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.
What a great idea! I can't wait to try it with my boys! Thanks for sharing!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Donna! I hope they have a blast with it!Delete
Would koolaid work in place of the vinegar?ReplyDelete
I believe it will! I didn't try it to compare - but it shouldn't be a problem. To make sure you get maximum foam, I'd make the Kool Aid pretty concentrated. Let me know if it works! :)Delete
What a fun idea~!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Veena!!!!Delete
This is such a fun idea, Asia! Love it!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much, Trisha! I ran lots of trials to get the best foam - I think my husband thought I'd lost my marbles. ;)Delete
So cool, Asia!! I totally want to play with this!ReplyDelete
Thank you, Ann! All the adults erupted/melted a snowman too. We couldn't resist. :)Delete
This is so cool! We'll definitely try this also. I pined it for future reference and can't wait to do it with the kids.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Angela! I hope that your kiddos enjoy it as much as mine did!Delete
Love, love, love this -- and I know my son will too. We'll definitely be trying this over our Christmas break. :)ReplyDelete
Yay!!!! Thank you, Mary Catherine! I know you love baking soda and vinegar just as much as we do. Hope you guys have a blast with it! The more vinegar you add at once, the more dramatic the foaming. :)Delete
Aw so cute! This looks super fun.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Katie! :)Delete
Too much fun! I'm pinning this to remind myself later :DReplyDelete
Thank you, Rachel! :)Delete
Making this a kit for family gift, each member having supplies to make their own.ReplyDelete
Awesome!!!!! I love it!!!Delete
Is there a way to use the same dough over again?ReplyDelete
No, unfortunately baking soda and vinegar is a one way reaction (because you can't add back the gas that was released). But the recipe above was enough for us to make 3-4 snowmen.Delete
Oh I love the idea! We will set some winter activities for next 2 months and try this one for sure :) The only problem is my son doesn't like the smell of vinegar - we tried it when made hatching dinosaurs eggs....hope melting snowman is so much fun he will forget about vinegar's smell ;)ReplyDelete
Thank you, Anik! We have vinegar free hatching dinosaur eggs here on the blog if you're interested:Delete
We've also had success adding one drop of peppermint extract to mask the vinegar scent - it smells awesome! I hope that helps! :)
Thank you....I can't wait to try this oneReplyDelete
Yay! I hope you enjoy it as much as we have been! :)Delete
Hi :) after "melting" your snowman, did you pour off the vinegar and re-use the same "snow" to make another snowman? ---tinaReplyDelete
Hi Tina! Unfortunately baking soda + vinegar only works once. The reaction changes the chemical structure of the baking soda and the snow won't behave the same (hold together or erupt again). I wish it were reusable!Delete
Yay for Olaf!!! He looks so accurate too :). I'm so glad you added him to this awesome post!!ReplyDelete
Hahaha - thank you, Katie! We haven't seen Frozen, but Google Images helped me out. :)Delete
WE ARE TOTALLY DOING THIS FOR FROZEN DAY AT ART CAMP TOMORROW!!! I'm so excited I had to use all caps ;)ReplyDelete
YAYAYAYAYAYAY I HOPE THEY LOVE IT!!!!!!Delete
Do you think I could make the snowman and wrap as a Christmas gift? Would it last?ReplyDelete
The dough is very soft and pliable, so I don't know that it would stay in snowman firm if you were moving it around. It would probably get a bit smooshed, unfortunately.Delete
Can you make these ahead of time to give as a gift?ReplyDelete
You can make the dough ahead of time. We gave some to a friend as a present - we sealed it in an airtight container and added a note that said to use it within 3 days for best results. Hope that helps! :)Delete
This idea made my day!!! Can't wait to use it with my class! !!!ReplyDelete
Awesome! We think these are so fun - I hope you all have a blast!!!!!Delete
My great grand daughter is coming over Sunday and I was looking for something we could do and then I saw this. This just looks like the perfect thing. I just have to find some accessories. I think she will have a blast. Thank you.Delete
So fun! I hope you both have a fantastic time! What an amazing great-grandmother you are!!!!Delete
Its been great fun trying this.ReplyDelete
Glad to hear it!Delete
This looks fun! One question - is baking soda the same thing as baking powder?ReplyDelete
(and thanks for all the excellent fun things to do at home!)
Thank you! Nope, it's a different thing. If you live outside the US, baking soda might be called sodium bicarbonate. If you live in the US its the stuff that comes in the box rather than the tiny canister (and it's the one that's cheaper!). :)Delete
Can the dough be used again after the vinegar is poured?ReplyDelete
No, the baking soda and vinegar reaction only works one time. Sorry!Delete
We did this today as we have no snow and it's too cold to go outside (a sad winter for her since snow is her favorite) We both had a blast and we used all organic ingredients (even dish soap) to the same effect as the original recipe! Thank you so much for these awesome and boredom killing ideas.ReplyDelete
Hooray!!! So glad to hear it! :) :) :)Delete
Thank you for sharing this! We did it for Toddler Storytime at the library yesterday (with pink glitter mixed in for Valentine's Day) and the kiddos loved it! May I share your recipe with our parents? I'll make sure to put your blog address on it.ReplyDelete
Hi Leah! So glad to hear it (and what a fun storytime!!!). So long as you don't use any of my photos and cite my blog, that's fine by me. :) I also have a book that has the recipe (and tons more) - it might even be at your library!!!Delete
I included this in my Christmas in July roundup. This was the most exciting thing we tried.ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! So glad you enjoyed it - it's one of our favorites!Delete
Hi, what a great idea! What's the purpose of the salt? Is it just to help with the consistency of the dough? Thanks!ReplyDelete
It helps the bubbles spread out so there's a bigger mountain of foam. :)Delete
Do we need to rinse the container between snowmen or does the vinegar react enough with the first one that we are good to pop in another? I'm thinking of a pre k class party and it would be quicker to not have to rinse between snowmen.ReplyDelete
No need to rinse, but you'll want a bucket you can dump the melted snowman-vinegar mess into between kiddos. :)Delete
Does anyone know the science behind this?ReplyDelete
Yes - what details do you want to know? It's an endothermic (which is why it feels cold) reaction between baking soda and vinegar. It gives off water, sodium acetate, and carbon dioxide gas. The soap traps the gas inside making bubbles.Delete
Oh boy did we ever just have fun!! I had my boys do the snow men but then I had the build volcanos (thank you Costco sized ingredients for letting us have multiple runs). I used a syringe to inject some elderberry syrup into the center of the volcanos out of sight then they squirted vinegar into the hole and over the top. The lava (elderberry syrup) bubbled out as expected.ReplyDelete
Then they played with the new slop for quite awhile while I tried to clean up a bit. Before we got rid of the slop though, I busted out the PH strips and we tested water, baking soda (with water to make it testable), vinegar, then each of their bowls of slop. Someday the 8 year old will remember that I tried to explain PH to him so while I think most of it went over his head today, it's in there ready to bubble up when he needs it in chemistry class someday.
I love it!!!!Delete
You could also just use food colouring in the vinegar. I was just thinking, though I've never tried it this way, it might also work if you put a few drops of food colouring directly into the volcano. At school we usually make a papier machier volcano and put the baking soda inside and pour in the vinegar - we can do it over and over til interest in volcanoes is done.Delete
Yep you can, Rece, but be VERY careful because it can stain!Delete