Snowflake Thoughts

person holding ice shard
Photo by Nelly Aran on

Here’s a post from last winter that seemed appropriate to repost.

Much of the country saw snow this past weekend. Some people dread the snow, others welcome a world covered in a soft quilt of whiteness that invites sledding, skiing, and snow-angel fun … or a quiet walk through the neighborhood.

We often focus on the phrase “no two snowflakes” are alike – but is that really true? I mean, seriously, who has actually researched every snowflake to make sure they’re all different?

The thing is – physicists have done  research and discovered that even though two snowflakes can look identical on the outside — at the molecule level no two are the same.

Back in the late 1800s, William Bentley became fascinated with snowflakes. He lived on a Vermont farm and spent a lot of time outdoors and saw a lot of snow. He became curious about snowflakes and after receiving a microscope for his fifteenth birthday, set about to draw snowflakes. But that didn’t work because they melted too quickly so he decided to move to photography. However, back then, there was little equipment for photomicroscopy which is what he would need to take intricate pictures of snow.  After much trial and error he became one of the first people to photograph a single snow crystal.

He went on to photograph more than 5,000 snowflakes – putting each one on a piece of black velvet to highlight their delicate designs. Eventually he became known as Snowflake Bentley. (Snowflake Bentley is a children’s book – the 1999 Caldecott Medal winner and is available on Amazon.)

Many of his images are on the web. A quick Google image search will bring up several pictures. Somehow seeing the closeup pictures makes God’s treasury of the snow even more miraculous. (Although we have no indication that Wilson Bentley was a Christian or that he gave any indication that he recognized God as the Creator of the snowflake, we can certainly see the wonder of God’s design through his photos.)

Here are some things to do with your kids (personal or ministry) to focus on snow

  1. Print out some of Snowflake Bentley’s pictures for your kids to see. (A quick web search will come up with quite a few.)
  2. thCheck out Snowflake Bentley from the library and read/look at the books and photos.
  3. Bring in a snowball from outside (if available) and ask the kids how many different/individual snowflakes they think are in that one snowball.
  4. Give kids opportunity to cut snowflakes from white paper and decorate your home (or classroom). Add some glitter if desired. Of if you’re doing this with your personal child, decorate the dinner table with snowflakes.
  5. Study verses about snow:  (These are just three of several.)

Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail? (Job 38:22)

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps, fire and hail,         snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word! (Psalm 148:7-8)

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

Snowflake Bentley discovered a small, delicate part of God’s great design. Next time it snows, why not take the opportunity to teach your kids about God’s awesome creation?




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