Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fun with ice...or snow!

 For those of you in the middle of the summer heat, you can do this project easily with a store bought block of ice or your own homemade block. I used a frozen juice can. Those of you with access to snow, I say get yourself a bowl-full and let your wee ones have a go at it!

What you need:

*block of ice, store bought or homemade
*a cup of salt
*liquid water color or watered down food color
*containers for your "paint" (i used disposable ice cream cups from a local scoop shop)
*sponges and/or paint brushes, eye droppers
*a tray with edges (like a cookie sheet with sides)
*squirt bottle(s)
*paper towels or clean scrap rags

scrumdilly-do it!

This is super easy, super delightful, wet, messy and scientific to boot! Place a paper towel or rag on top of your tray/cookie sheet. Add you ice block and get ready for some fun! The rag/towel will keep the ice from scooting all over the place. You can of course do this project outside. A kiddie pool would probably be a blast for your wee ones. If using snow you can pile up your mound on the tray or keep it in your bowl, it is up to you.
Set out your supplies and let your kidlets have a go. Paints should be in accessable cups. Add some paint and salt to a squirt bottle for variety. Adding salt to the top first, then brushing all around your ice with some salt water will help speed the melting process along. The salt will also create cracks in the ice which will hold the paint color for a little while. It looks mighty nifty!

Ice droppers would be awesome for snow. A sponge brush works best with the ice as well as a squirt bottle. I add all the different elements so that I can ask the kidlets questions. "What do you thing will happen if we squirt the ice with a stream of water? What if we used a mist? Which brush will help melt the ice faster? What would happen if we added salt to the paint first? What if we used hot water?"
If the block gets too muddled with color, pour some clear water on it and have your wee ones start all over again! I did this when my three your old friend came over to play. We took it outside for some more exploring.

He spent the rest of the day checking every half hour or so to see if it had melted yet. Make sure to say things like "Hey! What kind of science are you doing? Are you a scientist? Why is the ice melting? How long do you think it will take to melt to nothing?" All in all let your kidlets explore and have fun. If your wee ones are too small or you don't have any color on hand, hand them some sponge brushes and a bowl of water and let them paint the sidewalk. Tell them they are observing the act of melting at work! Most of all...have fun!

Coming up, summer fun with chalk!


  1. You are so fun! I love looking at what you're up to even if I only do 1/5th of the stuff! It's all so fun!!

  2. I am a tutor and during our tutoring sessions, I allow students to paint if they promise to listen as I talk to them about their lesson. The children need more opportunities for self-expression through painting or other art or craft activities. They seem hungry for such activities. It helps their mind relax a bit more and be more receptive to the knowledge I am talking to them about, whether it be math work, social studies, or reading. . . Thanks for these ideas. I am going to use them from time to time.

    1. I like that idea of painting while listening, it lends a kinesthetic memory to the learning. Thank you for your idea as well, I hope you enjoy more tutoring time!

  3. this looks fun. but this is melting and not evaporation..

    1. Right you are! Oh my goodness. Thank you for the catch!