Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

“Can I catch some hail?”


Image Credit: Raysonho, via Wikipedia

The evening in early June that my daughter and I spent huddled in our basement waiting for the tornado warning to expire is definitely in the running to be one of the formative experiences of my daughter’s childhood. Over a month later, she’s still busily processing it.

Many–although not all–of our conversations lately have revolved around hail, and the feasibility of my daughter running outside and grabbing a bit of hail off the sidewalk before it melts.

In my opinion running out to collect hail in the middle of a thunderstorm is not a feasible exercise for a preschooler at all, even if she’s wearing her bike helmet and holding her daddy’s very gigantic umbrella over her head.

“But it’s SCIENCE, Mommyo!”

My daughter pointed out that if the hail is large enough — say golf ball sized or larger —  there will be a magic interval between the time the hail stops falling from the sky and the time it melts on the ground during which she could go outside, grab a hailstone, and pop it in the freezer for future study without harm to herself. And she may have a point. Assuming we aren’t huddled in the basement at the time.

Although most of our conversations so far have revolved around the exact circumstances under which I will allow her to add a bit of hail to her collection, that’s not really what she’s interested in. She wants to know what’s in it. Is it really just ice that falls from the sky in warm weather, or will there be a tiny rock inside?

I’ve told her that it’s just ice, but my track record on severe weather facts is sketchy at best, so my daughter wants to see for herself.

So what about you? Do you have (or have you ever had) a hailstone in your freezer? Ever melted one down to see what’s inside?

3 Responses to ““Can I catch some hail?””

  1. Victoria

    No on both questions; however, I’d support your hypothesis based on walking on the sidewalk after the hail has melted. It’s just damp. At most I’d guess dust or other microscopic particles, though.


  2. Sheila

    It is Science.
    I think that you should let her collect some hail and see for herself what is inside of it.
    She could go out immediately after the storm and collect some. Sounds like a great idea! May be the rest of us could also be on the lookout for hail and save it for her next visit.
    Love and kisses,


  3. Barbara Howell

    Well yes we have had hailstones in the freezer, thanks to B’s Dad and Uncle. Tell her that her Dad can verify that it is just ice (if he remembers the experiment).



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