Ice activities for kids and learning tips

These ice activities for kids are super quick to set up with very little planning required. You can do all three at the same time or split over a couple of days. Choose from ice sculpture hangings, ice excavation rescue or painting ice. In the winter you could let the weather freeze your creations but if it’s not cold enough just pop them in the freezer, space permitting of course. As we’ve been doing so much homeschooling lately, I’ve added some learning tips too.

What you will need:

For the ice hangings

String
Plastic containers (yogurt pots are good)
Saucers
Flowers, leaves etc
Water
Food colouring (optional)

For the ice excavation activity

Water
Plastic container
Table salt
Scoops and spoons
Toys (lego is great)
Balloons
Pipettes (We used ones kept from Calpol)

For ice painting

Water
Baking soda
Paints
Paint brushes

Ice activities for kids methods

Ice hangings

Fill the pots and containers with water. Then add petals and leaves and some drops of food colouring etc. Next place a loop of string or wool, ensuring both ends are in the water.

If cold enough leave outside to freeze or otherwise pop them in the freezer.

When frozen you will need to push your decoration out of the pot. You may need to leave it for a couple of minutes so its not so hard set or difficult to remove.

Use the loop to hang it in a tree or bush.

ice activities for kids
ice activities for kids

Learning – Hang your ice decorations in sunny or shady spots and track which one melts first. Use a timer to record how long they take to melt. Make your hangings different sizes and see which melts the quickest.


Ice excavation activity

Fill your pots with water and then add some small toys. Lego men are great. We went for a star wars theme. Or you could add some dinosaurs to make it like a dinosaur dig.

Pop them into the freezer or let them freeze outdoors (when cold enough).

When ready, pop them out of their containers and try to rescue the toys using hot water in pipettes, spoons or small hammers and salt. See which works best.

Learning – Look at the effect that salt has on ice. Salt doesn’t melt the ice, instead it creates a chemical reaction. The freezing point of water is 0 °C. At this temperature water molecules organise themselves into crystal structures and become ice. When you pour salt on ice, it interrupts the crystallising process as it breaks up into separate molecules of sodium and chloride when it hits water.

Sodium and chloride move through the water and take up space within the structure of molecules in the water. This pushes them apart and disrupts the ice forming process and lowers the freezing point of the water.


Ice painting activity

Mix the water with baking soda so it’s white. Then pour into a container and freeze. Once frozen remove from the freezer.

Get your paints ready and start painting pictures onto the white ice. Once covered in paint, rinse off the top of the ice with cold water. Then paint another design. Keep going until either they get bored or the ice has all melted.

Learning – Discuss liquids and solids. What is a liquid and what is a solid. Both water and ice are made of the same so why is one a solid and one a liquid? It’s all about how the particles inside them move about. The particles in water move around more freely than the ones packed close in ice. When you add warmth to the ice the particles start moving around and it starts to melt into water.

Also experiment with mixing paints and learning about primary and secondary colours. Mix red and blue paint to make purple, yellow and blue to create blue and yellow and red to make orange.

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