Saturday, November 6, 2010

Snowflakes

My son has already started making snowflakes! Considering we live in a location where snow is rare (non-existent last winter), this may be a sign of wishful thinking. At this time of the year, we like to make them and hang them in windows and from the ceiling! Because they are "seasonal", not necessarily Christmasy, we can start now and leave them up well after the New Year. It's our way of creating an indoor winter wonderland (since we often don't have one outside... not that I'm complaining).


Most of us know how to make paper snowflakes by folding a square piece of paper in half, over and over again, and making small cuts in the folds. If not, you can find instructions on this website. If you'd like to work from a template to make more complex designs, you can find some unique ones at CanadianWinter.ca.

If your child wants to make snowflakes online, you can do that, too. There are a few sites where you can make flakes: Create-a-Snowflake at Snowdays, Make-a-Flake at Snowflakes, and you can play with 3D rotation at zefrank.com. The first two have options for saving on the site, so you may want to discuss your comfort level about privacy (information disclosure) with your kids before they start.

I recently saw this origami snowflake made out of tracing paper. Gorgeous!! Here are the video instructions if you are inspired to make one (or several).




If you want to dig a bit deeper, Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin is a marvelous book about snow crystals. It's the story of a man, Wilson A. Bentley, who dedicated his life and finances to photographing ice crystals with very primitive technology. He eventually published these in a book, the first of its kind. It's a lovely story about following one's passion while overcoming obstacles, including the opinions of others.


The Jericho Historical Society has a website dedicated to his work, which includes some of his original images. There is also another website out of the Buffalo Museum of Science that features Bentley's photographs.

SnowCrystals.com is out of CalTech, created and maintained by Kenneth Libbrecht. There are wonderful photos of snow crystals, videos of snow crystal formation, activity suggestions for kids, and so on. It's a fabulous and comprehensive site to explore.