December At-Home STEAM Activity: Snowstorm in a Jar

This December, let’s create a snowstorm in a jar! 

It may be cold in most of the country right now, but that doesn’t mean everyone has snow. Here in the Sunshine State, you can bring the snow right to you with this fun snowstorm in a jar science experiment. With just a few materials, you can teach kids all about snowstorms, gases, and chemical reactions.


  • Baby oil
  • White tempera (water-based) paint
  • Glitter (optional)
  • Antacid tablets
  • Tall jar
  • Tray or plate to place jar on


  1. Pour about 2 inches of water into the bottom of your jar.
  2. Add enough white paint to make it look like milk.
  3. Add glitter if desired.
  4. Fill the rest of the jar with baby oil.
  5. Break an antacid tablet into four pieces and drop one at a time into a jar.
  6. Watch as the paint rises through the oil as the carbon dioxide reaction creates a snowstorm.

Note: If the baby oil created a lot of bubbles when added to the jar, you will want to let your jar sit for an hour or two before dropping in the antacid tablets. If you give it time for all the bubbles to work their way to the top, the oil will be clearer, and the “snowstorm” will be much easier to see.

The Science Behind the Fun

Antacid tablets contain sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), citric acid, and aspirin (a pain reliever). In the tablet, the baking soda and citric acid can’t react with each other. When you drop the tablets into the water, the citric acid reacts with the baking soda to form sodium citrate (water and carbon dioxide bubbles).

When you mix water (the paint plus the water) and oil in your jar, the oil separates and rises to the top. Oil and water won’t mix since water is made up of polar molecules, or molecules that have uneven electrical charges, and oil is made up of non-polar molecules. Oil is also less dense than water, so the water sinks to the bottom and the oil ends up on top.