Wild Wonders Snow Science: Snowflake Catcher


Snowflakes might all look the same from a distance, but you may find some amazing differences if you look at them up close!



Make a Snowflake Catcher


  • Black felt (4”x 4”)
  • Short piece of ribbon or yarn
  • Snowflake ID card (printable)
  • Laminated sheet of common snowflakes (or put the sheet in a ziploc bag)

 Before You Explore:

Consider: Do snowflakes come in different shapes and sizes? Does a snowflake’s shape or size change as the temperature changes?

Check out this cool video about how snow crystals are formed: http://bit.ly/snow_crystals

Connect with Nature:

  • Let’s create a Snowflake catcher! Print out the snowflake ID card. (Use cardstock if you have it.) Trim it down with scissors, then laminate or put in a ziploc sandwich bag.
  • Cut a piece of black felt to around 4″ x 4″. If you don’t have black felt, use any dark fabric.
  • Make a hole in the corner of the felt/fabric and the ziploc bag, then thread the ribbon/string through the holes and tie the two together.
  • Place your snowflake catcher in the freezer until the next snowy day (the cold felt will help to keep your snowflake from melting)!
  • Make a prediction: What shape of snowflake on the sheet will you find today?
  • Head outside into the snowy day and hold your fabric out with a gloved hand (keeping the fabric cold is key!) to catch some snowflakes.
  • Look at your snowflake ID card.  Can you identify any of the crystals you have caught?
  • How many points do they have? What shape are they? Can you name them?
  • Take your Snowflake Catcher out with each new storm. How do the snowflakes change? Any ideas what makes them change?

Dive Deeper!

Can you draw your snowflake? Bring a camera outside with your felt and see if you can photograph one of your snowflakes before it melts! After taking a few pictures, head inside to see if you can draw one of your snowflakes. Can you draw all of the details of the snow crystal you have discovered? Be sure to send us a picture of what you create –  

Learn about Snowflake Bentley and what he discovered about snowflakes through early photography.

Learn how to make a paper snowflake here!