While this activity is more science experiment than arts and crafts, it’s sure to capture the attention of under-fives with a beautiful array of colours, bubbles, rivers of rainbow water and of course the fun of squirting.
And while it’s definitely not a way to keep tiny fingers warm, this experiment is a great way to talk about the differences between cold and warm, explore colours, and work on the fine motor skills of sprinkling when using the salt and pinching required for squirting the water.
This activity can also be an opportunity to discuss different states of matter with older children, i.e. water turning to ice when it’s cold, and ice turning back to water with the addition of the salt.
You will need:
- Plastic containers in different sizes
- A lipped tray such as a baking tray or something larger if you have it
- Salt (plain table salt is fine) in small bowls for sprinkling
- Liquid watercolours, watered down paint or food colouring in a variety of shades
- Jars or other containers to put the colours in
- Eye droppers
- Pre-freeze your ice by filling up your chosen containers with water to different depths and freezing overnight. You want them nice and solid before you start.
- Turn the ice blocks out onto your tray (dip the base of the containers in a little water if they’re sticking) and set them out on a low table.
- Give the children some small bowls of salt and show them how to sprinkle some over the tops of your ice blocks. Talk about how the salt makes the ice melt faster than normal, and highlight the divots now dug into the surface of the ice.
- To give them an even better look at how the ice is melting, get the kids to suck up their chosen colours of paint with an eye dropper and squirt it onto a section of ice. This will further melt the ice, and will make the crevices created by the salt more visible.