Wednesday 6 March 2013

Five ice activities

Ice causes great excitement, in this house.

 I'm planning to look at The very last first time, by Jan Andrews, with the younger children, next week. This book involves a large amount of ice so this week we have been having some fun science ice activities. These are all simple and quick to prepare. I hoped to show

  • change of state
  • what causes melting
  • buoyancy of ice
  • the way in which freezing occurs.
The first four activities are all from this week but the last is somewhat older.

Change of state-how to get objects out of ice

I saw this idea some time ago on Creekside learning.
A rectangular container was filled with water and some magnetic fridge letters. The whole container was frozen. I took the ice out of the container and asked the children how they were going to get the letters out.

They tried cutting, with a safe knife,

without much success.

Salt was next

this started to work slowly.

Far more effective was warm water.

Boat or submarine?
This was looking at whether ice floats or sinks. 
I put bluetack in the base of some small containers and put a cocktail stick into this. Each container was then filled with water and food colouring and then frozen. 
Younger Daughter made sails for the sticks which we attached with double sided tape.
The ice was taken out and put in the bath.

Yes, they are boats-ice floats on water- a very unusual solid.

Ice art
I posted a little about this, the other day.
We made a block of ice in an old ice cream container.
Once it was completely frozen, we took the ice out of the container and sprinkled it with liberal quantities of rock salt in the hope of making crevices rather than just a general melt.
We then added large quantities of food colouring.
 and more.

The salt does cause the ice to melt more quickly but it does take an hour or so to be really obvious.

I added more colouring at this point and this showed the crevices and was rather beautiful. In retrospect, it would have been better not to have added the colouring until the melting process was well under way.

Ice caves
This is an attempt to look at the way in which ice freezes from the colder outside in.

We partially filled a balloon with water and food dye. Word of advice, blow the balloon up first and then let the air out. Putting dye and water into a balloon which has not previously been stretched risks getting water and dye all over face and clothes-I know now!

Put the balloon in the freezer. Turn every hour or so to ensure even freezing. Take the balloon out when the outside feels solid but  there seems to be water left inside.

Cut the balloon off and drain off excess water.

Another view:

Ice sculptures

This old favourite looks at change of state from water to ice and how objects can be preserved. 

We placed objects in a muffin tray, put water around them and added a string loop. The tray was frozen.

When completely frozen, we hung the sculptures in the garden and observed what happened.

Have you any favourite ice activities? We are hoping to find a few more to do over the next week or so.

This is linked to It's PlaytimeFun sparksLiving life Intentionally and Homeschool Science Share.


  1. What lovely fun things for your children to do. We really should do more of this! Thank you for the inspiration,

    1. Thank you although I think that caring for new kittens beats this any day!

  2. Again, what fabulous science. Keep them coming, Sarah - I'm going to do all these with my little ones. Brilliant!!

    1. Thank you, Claire. Hope your little ones enjoy these too! My youngest is fascinated with ice!

  3. Looks like a lot of fun! It might be something I could do without failure.

    1. Yes, definitely-complicated things don't work for me!

  4. I love all these great ideas!!

  5. They are fantastic, we love ice experiments.

    Thanks for linking to Science Sparks. x