Playing in the Snow

It’s been a mild winter here in the Pacific Northwest so we’ve ventured into the Cascade Mountains for snow play this year. We’re lucky that we don’t have to travel far to find a winter wonderland.

We’re also lucky to have a library nearby because when my kids asked, “Where does snow come from, Mommy?” my vague explanation about moisture, clouds, and temperature didn’t seem sufficient. The Story of Snow took our understanding of those lovely frozen flakes to a whole new level.

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino with Jon Nelson, Ph.D.

In language that is very easy to understand and drawings and photographs to illustrate it beautifully, we learned that “snow begins with a speck.” I assumed it was just moisture but in order for that moisture to become a snow crystal, it needs a tiny particle to attach to. The authors also give wonderful explanations about the myriad snowflake shapes and sizes and how their formation depends on the moisture content and temperature of the clouds they fall through on their way down to the earth.

Making snow angels, rolling snowmen and snowballs, sledding and catching falling flakes on our tongues is still a top priority but we also like to slow down and take a closer look. This book definitely gave us a renewed appreciation for the science of behind winter’s wonderful frozen flakes.

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