For those of you who do not know, it snows in Minnesota in the winter. Once or twice during the season, I will bring snow inside into the sensory table for the children to experience sans coats and mittens. For playing in the snow, I provide the usual set of hodgepodge and doohickies. This year I added various tubes to the mix of items on hand for the children to use.
There were the narrower, flexible tubes. Besides children filling the narrow tubes with snow, the tubes became machines. In the picture below, the tube is a vacuum to vacuum up the snow.
Children often removed the tube resulting in a free-standing column of snow. It often toppled right away, but even the fleeting column was a stunner for the children.
One child discovered that if he tipped the tube back and forth with some snow in it, the snow would slide from one end of the tube to the other. Watch.
When I saw this child tipping the snow in the tube back and forth, I thought he was experiencing the weight shift as the snow went from one end of the tube to the other. It was not until I tried it myself that I understood what else he was experiencing. As the snow slid from one end of the tube to the other, the snow forced air---cold air, at that---out one side and then the other. It totally surprised me. Maybe that is why the child is smiling so much in the video.
What do you get with tubes as loose parts with snow? Snow tubes, versatile contrivances rich in potential---and maybe a surprise or two.