Ice is everywhere, and if you take a closer look, you’ll realize there is more to it than meets the eye. It is cold, wet, comes in different shapes and sizes, and contains cracks and bubbles hidden inside. One of its most impressive qualities is that it transforms back into water. As children explore a block of ice, they are inspired to work as scientists — asking questions and searching for answers. Embark on a journey of Ice Exploration with your little ones. Let’s get started!
- Ice (any shape and size)
- Tray or tub
- Plastic eye dropper/turkey baster
- Food coloring/watercolor paints
- Start by freezing water to make ice into shapes of your choice. Make blocks of ice in recycled containers of different shapes and sizes. Fill balloons with water. Crush some ice into a little pile. There are so many shapes, so let your kids choose the directions they want to go! (Putting the ice in a tray for exploration will help with clean-up later!)
- Dive into the sensory experience of exploring ice — How does it feel? What does it look like? How does it change over time? What does crushed ice look like when you look very closely? Will an ice brick sink or float in water?
- Continue your exploration! Sprinkle some salt on your block of ice. What happens? Pour food coloring (or liquid watercolors) onto the cracks and crevices that the salt creates. Can you see the path of the salt? How do the colors mix? How do your actions affect how the ice transforms?
- Ready for more? Use flashlights, paintbrushes or toothbrushes, eye droppers, scrapers, etc. to make new discoveries. What happens when you shine light on the ice? What happens when you brush at it? What materials does the ice react to? Explore light and color, both of which play an important role in the intersection of art and science.