For those of us who live in cooler climates, coping with the cold is normal and just another part of the day, many of us live in moderate climates that allow us to enjoy the white, fluffy stuff and get us out building snowmen with the kids.
Generally, when we go out the temperature is a little above freezing, or if it’s a little below it’s fine to go out and play for a short while before retiring back into the warmth of indoors.
What about all the places where it’s not quite so moderate? Some areas like Canada and the mid-western United States have several months of, what can at times be described as, brutally cold temperatures.
I used to live in Atlantic Canada and freezing cold is an understatement, you have two choices when you’re faced with cold like that, hide away inside or get out there and have some fun and rest assured, there is fun to be had, even when it’s well below freezing.
Yes, these activities take place outside!
1. Here’s an activity that’s fun for you and the little ones to try during the cold months – freezing bubbles. Although bubbles are always fun at any time of year, they tend to pop very easily. But, when the temperatures hit about 10 degrees below, the bubbles freeze completely. You need to blow the bubbles up into the air so that there’s enough time for them to freeze before landing on something.
2. Try a Slushy Soda, if the temperature is lower than zero, this will work. This is soda and alcohol mixed together and will turn into slush almost immediately after being put outside. The trick is to mix the alcohol and soda inside in the warm, then seal the mixture into a bottle of some sort.
Next, put the bottle in a snowbank for a few hours to ensure the whole mixture is reached by the cold. As soon as the top of the bottle is pulled off, the mixture immediately turns to slush as the cold air hits it.
People who have tried this say that glass or aluminum work best, and regular, not diet, soda will have better results.
I know, I know, you want to know how it works!
Here we go – By opening the lid of the bottle, the pressure is lowered, releasing carbon dioxide bubbles. These little bubbles turn into slushy ice crystals.
An important thing to remember is to use a beverage with a low alcohol content, otherwise, this little trick won’t work. A liquid with high alcohol content takes longer to freeze and needs even colder temperatures to work. Because there are added sugars in the soda and alcohol, it takes a while to freeze, and it needs colder temperatures to freeze all the way.
3. Another fun one is square tires. Mechanics living in areas where freezing conditions are the norm have to deal with many cases where tires deflate due to the drop in temperatures. This is because the air pressure in the tires decreases as the temperatures fall.
This isn’t usually an issue, once a car starts moving, the tires start to warm up and inflate as the air pressure returns to normal. Still, they could take longer to again the correct pressure if the temperatures are 30 degrees or below. This is where the term “square tires” comes from.
When you’re driving along and you’re bouncing up and down, clunk, clunk, clunk!
4. Here’s another one, although this one will definitely need some adult supervision. It requires playing with hot, boiling water in the wind.
Before trying this experiment, there must be a big enough difference between the temperature of the outside air and the temperature of the water. Those who have tried this say that they got their best results in temperatures of minus 30 degrees F (-30c) or lower.
The science behind this experiment is that cold air is usually dense, or tighter, than warm air. When the hot water is thrown into the cold air, the hot water has nowhere to go, turning it into snow.
Again, for those who don’t know what it’s like to live in colder climates, there’s quite a lot of preparation needed to ensure a person stays safe throughout the winter months. One example is the need to use special heaters to place under the hoods of your car so as to make sure they start in sub-zero temperatures. We used to have a block heater that we plugged in at night!
5. Here’s one not to do – Sure it can be funny, but it has a good chance of causing some problems, especially if you or someone else gets too stuck.
Again, this is for those who’ve grown up and live in the colder climates of the north. There has always been a joke about bits of the body sticking to metal items, sometimes among children, they touch metal objects to their tongue, we used to do it with a spoon we’d left out. If it’s a large metal object like a flagpole, you could be stuck there for a long time.
If your tongue touches something metal and cold the moisture on your tongue freezes and creates a bond with the surface of the metal, the metal sucks the heat from your tongue faster than you can keep it warm so you can’t defrost it yourself and so you’re stuck!
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