Snow, like Christmas, takes on a mythical quality for a three-year-old living in Southern England. It comes about as regularly, is awaited with equal anticipation and is attended by as many rituals. Fortunately for Miss “I love snow” she had enough to play in yesterday morning!
Discussions on the way to pre-school about the car thermometer telling us the day was “as cold as a freezer” led Snow White and I to the idea to put some water out in containers to freeze, just like ice cubes do in the freezer. Then we thought we’d add some colour, and then some hanging loops so the ice blocks could be hung up in the garden to display them. Here’s how we did it:
Snow White had a tray with all the equipment (on the floor so Bluebird could watch her while playing with his toys). You’ll need
- small containers (ours were mainly yoghurt pots)
- jug of water (not too full so it’s easy to lift)
- block paints
First pour in water (as above). Snow White was watched by the Pre-school toy dog that has come to spend the week with us.
Now add colours:
Snow White used the pure red, yellow, green and blue first, then branched into one of her favourite things at the moment – mixing colours. I suggested some combinations to try and she made up others herself:
Cut lengths of string (she loves to use her scissors!) and knot the ends together for strength (I did the knotting) then dangle the knotted end into the water:
Now put them outside to freeze over night!
This led us to a lesson in micro-climates. The first night I left them on the step just outside the playroom, and despite the covering of snow in the garden this spot was still too warm to freeze the water. We moved them further away while playing in the snow and left them for a further night. I checked the weather forecast and was reassured to see minus temperatures over night and most of the following day. We popped them out of their pots and hung the ice art this morning and it has stayed frozen with the sun shining prettily on it:
Of course you could put them in the freezer to set if temperatures aren’t low enough outside.
I wonder how long before they melt away? The forecast here is for “fridge” temperatures rather than “freezer” ones for the rest of the week, so we’ll wait and see!
This was a great activity, part art part science experiment. It gave rise to lots of discussions, predictions and discovery, gave an opportunity to practise lots of skills and gave satisfying results.