Wednesday, January 8, 2014

3 Ways to Enjoy Frigid Temperatures

It's crazy when the temperature in Alaska is warmer than the high forecasted where you live. That happened this week. Monday's wind chill was -50s. I heard they're calling it a polar vortex. Whatever it is, it has caused life to grind to a halt here in the Midwest.

On the second day of school cancellations, I decided we had to do something - get out of the house, even if for just a second or two. So that's what we did. Three times yesterday we conducted some quick experiments in the frigid outdoors.

#1: Frozen Bubbles
Did you know that if bubbles are suspended in the air long enough in very cold temps (it was 8 degrees F. here), they will freeze? Yeah, I know. So cool, right?

Check out these phenomenal images on of frozen bubbles.

I made our bubble solution with three simple household ingredients.
1 1/2 c. water
1/2 c. liquid dishwashing detergent
1/4 c. white corn syrup

The corn syrup makes the bubbles stronger.

At first, we were disappointed. Then we realized that we needed to keep our bubbles floating longer in order for them to freeze. We started blowing our bubbles  upward and several caught the wind. By the time they came down and popped on the driveway, instead of disappearing, what was left looked like a translucent plastic grocery sack. We were amazed!

#2 Frozen Stiff Shirt
This (and the next activity) were shared by friends on Facebook. The results are crazy cool.

We wet a shirt and rung out the excess water and took it outdoors. I asked my son how long he thought it would take to freeze. His guess? 30 minutes. My guess? 4 minutes.

Six minutes was the right answer! My son was shocked.

#3 Shooting Snow Squirt Gun
Lots of folks around here are throwing pots full of boiling water out into the frigid air. Sounds like a weird Midwest thing, doesn't it? The truth is, the result is so extraordinary, you'll want to see it for yourself.

Since a pot of boiling water in the hands of an 8-year old sounded a little too dangerous, I followed a highschool classmate's lead. My son's eyebrows arched when I made him run to the garage to get his water gun.

I carefully poured the boiling water into the gun's reservoir, capped it and handed it to him. He went outside and fired it up, immediately shooting a cloudy stream of snow into the air.

When I asked him which of these three activities was the best, this one won out.

 All three of our Winter experiments made being stuck at home a whole lot more fun!

NOTE: Always dress appropriately to guard against the dangers of frostbite and hypothermia. Heed warnings and cover exposed skin and limit the duration of time spent outdoors. Safety first, then fun!


  1. These all looks like fun! I was surprised by how fast the shirt froze.

  2. I wish I had come across your blog long before now! Just found it today and am loving your ideas! I especially wish I had found it before Tuesday when I found myself with 2 boys and their (teacher) dad home and all of us were going stir crazy after already being home for 2 weeks on Christmas break, two of those days stuck inside due to a blizzard!