Cold Weather Experiments

8:56 AM, Jan 7, 2014   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

It's cold. School is canceled. A polar vortex is headed for the Southeast. So how do we make the best of this situation?  EXPERIMENTS!  We consulted our partners at the Weather Channel for ideas. 

Hot water
This may only work in the coldest of the cold spots such during this current arctic outbreak such as Minnesota, the Dakotas or eventually eastern Montana.  We're talking temperatures at 20 below or better yet 30 below zero or less.  You may have already seen this experiment on YouTube or other video outlets.

1. Heat up a cup or more of water.  
2. Pour the hot water into a glass or mug.  
3. Venture outside in the brutally cold air.  (Make sure to properly bundle up first of course.)  
4. Throw the hot water up into the air and away from yourself and watch what happens!

Freeze stuff 
We know it's not fancy, but kids never tire of freezing stuff: water bottles, wet t-shirts, paper cups of water. Even 11Alive's Mike Francis jumped in on the freezing fun. 

Blowing bubbles
1. First you'll need a blowing bubble solution. 
2. You can make your own or just yet buy a bubble solution at your local store. 
3. Heat up the solution so that it's warm or even hot to the touch. 
4. Head on outside into the frigid conditions.  (Again, temperatures will likely need to be far below zero in order to attain the best effect but sub-freezing temperatures are acceptable too.)
5. Blow several bubbles and catch one on the blowing-bubble wand.
6. Let the bubble rest on the wand in the cold air. In the subfreezing air, the bubble will freeze into a fragile crystal ball. 

Balloon deflation
1. Find a typical birthday balloon and blow it up.
2. Place the balloon outside in the freezing air and tether it to a stationary object so it doesn't blow away.
3. Over time, the balloon will contract and implode. (Depending on what magnitude the cold air, the contraction of the balloon may take several minutes or it could happen quite quickly.)  
4. Take it back inside to room temperature and watch it re-inflate.

Ripe banana hammer
Do you have a ripe banana in the house? Take it outside and let it hang out for a few hours. It will eventually become hard as a rock.  So hard that you could very well use the banana to hammer a nail.

Car thermometer
Ok, so this isn't quite as fun as the other activities but you can try it out and document the potential dangers of leaving pets or even children in cars in this very cold weather.  Locate a thermometer and place inside a car that is parked outside in the elements.  Record the initial temperature of the car interior.  Head back inside and get warm! Then in an hour or so come back to the car and check the thermometer again.  How far did the temperature plummet?

Make instant slurpees

If you try these (or any other) cold weather experiments at home, take photos and video. Send them to so we can share them on the air! You can also post them to our Facebook page.

Most Watched Videos