Tag Archives: ice

Why Ice is the Perfect Loose Part

Why ice is the perfect loose part

My children are fascinated by ice. I’ve added loose parts to ice before, but never considered that ice could in itself be a loose part.

When the cold weather comes, the first thing my kids do is to check if their water table has frozen and any other containers they have left around the garden.

ice
the cauldron has loads of ice in, not like yesterday. How can we break it?

The next thing they like to do is to go to the storm pond near their friends house to see if it has frozen.

Last year it froze solid for the first time. The kids loved throwing sticks to try to break it and even ice skated on it.

ice skating on the pond

When the ice wasn’t solid enough to walk on, it was just as fascinating.

The children broke off the surface, ice sheets very carefully and had competitions to see who could break the largest piece.

carrying a sheet of ice

My youngest insisted on carrying pieces home, even though her fingers were numb and left them on the doorstep to see how long they would remain frozen.

When the pieces broke, they used them to make these pictures.

Ice is a perfect loose part. It

  • Encourages expoloration
  • Is a full sensory experience
  • Can be any shape or size
  • Can be easily found
  • Presents challenges as it changes form.
  • The children can help create it in different shapes and forms
  • And is fascinatingly beautiful
Ice
I broke this piece – look at all the lovely patterns.

If you don’t live in a cold climate you could make your own in moulds in the freezer or place a few bags of ice outside and see how the children explore.

 

ice on bare feet

child looking at ice
This piece looks like a magnifier. I can look through it – see.

 

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Outdoor Play: Ice Activities – how a simple art ice project turned into a science investigation.

ice decorations

Ice Ornaments and Icicles

What had originally been an icy art project, unexpectedly turned into a fascinating science investigation.

A few weeks ago we filled up my baking tins with water  that we coloured with powder paint and dropped all manner of things into them.  Shells, berries, leaves, sequins, buttons and even a stone were placed inside to make ornaments for our tree.  The weather unfortunately instantly became warmer, so we had to wait some time before they were ready to hang.  Even then,  only the top layer of ice had frozen and within an hour of hanging them on the tree they had melted.  We also discovered that if you colour water with powder paint it separates once it begins to freeze, so most of the ornaments were not the lovely colour we had hoped for.

The girls have been peeking outside every morning to check if there is any ice.  This week they were rewarded with below freezing temperatures.  The ice ornaments were finally ready!  We hung them on the tree.  The sun was shining and the tree stands in the sun until mid afternoon.  I wasn’t sure how long they would stay this time as ‘plop’ one fell down from the tree.

Let’s put it by the door. That’s in the shade – it might make a nice present for Father Christmas.

Ice ornament
A present for Santa

As we went inside I asked the girls to watch the ornaments from the window.

They are melting.

How do you know?

They’re wet and they’re dripping down.

What do you think will happen as they melt?

I don’t think it will fall off the string because the string is attached. It will just melt and the floor will be wet.

When we went out later there were more interesting observations

Look this one has holes in it.  It might break not melt.

melting ice ornament with holes

Can I touch one?

Yes sure.

child touching ice
It’s cold and wet.

Within an hour or so the tree was in the shade and the temperature was beginning to drop. We noticed that the drips were starting to turn into little icicles.

icicles

The girls thought this was really cool and the next day even more so when we saw large icicles had formed.

icicles

They rushed outside to feel them, touching them gently so that they didn’t break off.

A Winter Pirate Treasure Hunt

The weather was so cold that during the late afternoon I sneaked into the garden with a jug of water and some pirate coins.  I put the coins in various containers and poured a little water on the top.

In the morning I invited the girls on a pirate treasure hunt. First they needed to make a map.  I had some coffee stained and singed paper that in true Blue Peter fashion I had prepared earlier.

Next they needed their pirate toolkit:
A hammer
A spoon
A pot of pirate sea salt

pirate toolkit
Ready Mummy
Out they went and quickly found coins. The hammers were their first choice. They weren’t very successful so then they tried the salt. They found that if they used the spoons and the salt they could gradually get down to the coin and hook it out.

pirate treasure hunt
Got it!

This could take ages, if we got a jug of hot water it might be quicker.

We were talking about the sea salt later in the day.

How do the pirates get salt from the sea?

Good question.  The salt is in the water so how do you think they could get it out?

I don’t know.

Shall we try it?

Yes.

Little Scientists

What do we need to do to make the salt disappear into the water?

We need to dissolve it

How? Do you remember how we made jelly dissolve or the sugar water we make for the hummingbirds?

We put hot water on it. Let’s be scientists and do an experiment.

The girls helped to stir the mixture until all the salt had dissolved. We poured the mixture into a pan and put it on the stove.

What happens to water when it gets cold?

It turns to ice

What about when it gets hot?

I don’t know.

Watch. What can you see.

steam

steam

If I put this spoon over the steam what can you see on the spoon.

It’s wet – water.

Yes the water is turning to steam. Now look what’s happening in the pan. What do you think the white stuff is?

salt distillation

I don’t know. Is it steam. 

No. The water has gone now so what is left?

salt.

salt

We had another idea for an experiment.  If we put the salt back in water and then left it outside would it freeze?

We will find out tomorrow.

Linking to :

afd38-outdoors-aspx Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Outdoor Play Ideas: Discovering and Learning about Ice on a Cold and Frosty Morning

children exploring frost and iceI used to love frosty days when I was a kid because we could play on the way to school  pretending to ice skate or breathe like a dragon.  The same sense of wonder came over my girls when they looked out on a clear frosty morning. They dressed quickly and rushed outside to see if they could find ice . They found ice on top of the water table and in containers that we have on the deck.

They soon learned that ice is very cold!


Later in the morning the girls put on their gloves to go out on an ice hunt.

ice
Look there is water and a leaf is floating. The ice has edges, I think there is water underneath.
I removed the lid from the water table. The girls were very excited to find ice inside there too. We added the penguins play set and a few whales.

When we got to the front of the house we found a small patch of frost.

Why is it frosty here and not anywhere else?

Because the sun made it melt.

So, why didn’t this bit melt?

It was in the shade.

frost

We decided to leave the lid off the water table to see if we could get even more ice the next day.  When they woke up the next day the girls were desperate to get out before any of the ice had melted.

First they checked the water table.

ice
The ice was thick and some of the penguins were buried underneath.
Let’s see what else we can find.

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We went back to the water table where the girls found 2 scoops filled with ice.

We can’t get it out.

Shall I run it under the hot tap like I do with the ice lollies?

Yes please

Next the girls turned their attentions to the animals stuck in the water tray.

Please can we get them out? Can we put hot water on them too?

Yes. I’ll get some.

We poured water onto the ice to free the animals, they could feel the hot water making holes and as we poured more on they were able to free them.

The other side of the water tray made a perfect ice rink for the penguins.
ice rink

I’m so glad we are home pre-schooling on days like this. Our next project is to make ice decorations for the tree at the front of the house and using  pirate treasure maps they made earlier in the week, hunt for coins buried in the ice. My pirate obsessed girls will be armed with special pirate tools and a bit of magic sea salt.  Arrrr.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Learning for Life

Play Activities with Ice

How did you get them in there?
How did you get them in there?

We need something to bash them out - let's try a spoon.
We need something to bash them out – let’s try a spoon.

Look, I broke a piece. The fish is coming out.
Look, I broke a piece. The fish is coming out.

I made a hole - grab the fish.
I made a hole – grab the fish.

Help it's sticking to my hand, what do I do now. Can you pull it off?
Help it’s sticking to my hand, what do I do now. Can you pull it off?

Look, I broke it in half - I can see a penguin.
Look, I broke it in half – I can see a penguin.

Ice mummy! I love ice. Bash, bash , bash.
Ice mummy! I love ice. Bash, bash , bash.

We've found all the animals, can we have more ice? We added crushed ice from the ice machine on the fridge.
We’ve found all the animals, can we have more ice? We added crushed ice from the ice machine on the fridge.

This is a great activity for water trays in pre-school settings but works even better outside, if you are in a cold climate set up a water tray outside and let nature do its work.

Other Ideas and Questions to ask Children

  • Add colour to the ice using food colouring or bath colours. Using a dark colour so the children have to guess what is hidden in the ice.
  • Put a small amount of warm water into the tray. Add the coloured ice. What happens to the water? What happens to the ice.
  • Sprinkle glitter into water – leave it in the freezer or outside overnight. What happens when it melts?
  • You are not allowed to bash the ice, how else could you get the animals out?
  • Can you find any more ice in the garden?
  • What would happen if we froze a leaf or berries?  If we hang them from a tree how long will they take to melt? What happens when they are melting?
  • The ice sticks to your gloves, what else will it stick to? Why does it only stick to some things?