By Chris Spears

DENVER (CBS4) – Bitter cold will grip a large part of the nation this weekend including the eastern half of Colorado. By Sunday most locations along and east of Interstate 25, including all of metro Denver, will struggle to climb into the single digits for afternoon highs. Overnight lows will likely fall below zero for the next few nights.

We can’t stress enough how dangerous this type of cold can be for both people and pets. But if you can safely bundle up for a brief trip outdoors during the coldest temperatures this weekend there are a few experiments you can do that will be fun for the entire family.

(credit: CBS)

Meteorologist Chris Spears froze a t-shirt while reporting on a very cold morning in Feb. 2016. (credit: CBS)


One fun thing you can do during an arctic cold blast is to soak an article of clothing in water, such as a t-shirt or a pair of jeans, then put it outside to see how long it will take to freeze. During a live broadcast on CBS4 back in February 2016 we froze a t-shirt in a matter of 10 minutes when the air temperature was 13 degrees above zero. It took about 30 minutes for ice crystals to form on the shirt.

Earlier this week in Minnesota some meteorologists at the National Weather Service had a little fun by freezing a pair of jeans and making them stand up outside in the snow. The air temperature for this experiment was in the -20’s but it doesn’t have to be that cold for this to work.

You can make a homemade sled by soaking an old towel in water and then placing it outside to let it freeze flat. You can even use a few old paint cans to curl the end up and make a toboggan as seen in the YouTube video below.


A fun experiment that won’t take long to conduct is to go outside and blow bubbles into the air. Then watch them freeze and float down to the ground. You can also simply blow a bubble and watch it freeze onto your wand.

Before blowing bubbles make sure you allow the bubble solution to cool down before starting this experiment.


This experiment is fun but requires adult supervision because if it is windy and the boiling water blows back on you it can cause burns, so be very careful. In this experiment you are making a cloud and watching water instantly change from a liquid to a gas.

Get a cup or pan of boiling hot water and take it outside. Launch the water high into the air away from people and watch a cloud form before your eyes. Some of the water will fall back to the ground and if it is really cold, say lower than -25°F, you may even make a little snow.

This experiment works best with temperatures of at least -10°F and colder. Again, use extreme caution so no one gets burned by the falling hot water! You can see a video of this experiment from the National Weather Service in Wisconsin in the tweet below.


Did you know that a banana can become a hammer? Place a banana outside and let it freeze solid for several hours, then use it to pound a nail into a small piece of wood.


Blow a balloon up inside your warm home and then take it outside into the bitter cold. Watch it shrink before your eyes due to increasing density of the air inside the balloon. Go back inside and watch it inflate once again as the density lowers and air inside the balloon expands.

We’d love to see your fun with these experiments this weekend. Share your pictures or videos with us here at CBS Denver on social media or by clicking here.

Chris Spears