Ice Science Experiments for Kids
Ice activities are a simple but effective means to teach kids about science. Kids will learn about the properties of water and ice in a fun and engaging way. These activities and experiments are great to do on hot summer days or during the cold winter months--or any time your children need something neat to do.
Most of these ideas only require water and food coloring. Learn how to create rainbow ice, a toy surprise, an ice cup, breathe ice, and make an ice necklace. So grab an ice tray and chill out with these fun ice activities and experiments.
Colorful Ice Cubes
- Ice tray
- Food coloring
- Paper (optional)
Ice instantly becomes more fun when it is rainbow colored. Choose one or several colors of food coloring to make rainbow ice cubes. In a pitcher or large cup mix water and several drops of food coloring together. Carefully pour the colored water into an ice tray.
When the water has turned to ice, you will have rainbow ice cubes. There are several different activities you can do with the colored ice. You can put two or three different colored pieces of ice in a cup and discover what color it makes when the ice has melted together.
The colored ice can be added to a clear liquid such as water or clear soda to make a fun rainbow drink or to turn a clear drink whatever color you would like. You can make red drinks or green drinks or blue drinks.
Make a rainbow picture by placing a few ice cubes on a piece of paper and leaving them outside on a hot day to melt. You can place the paper and ice cubes on a baking sheet to melt inside on cold days. When the ice has melted, you will have a colorful picture made by the melted water.
Ice Cube Painting
Toy in Ice
- Small plastic toy
- Ice tray
Your kids will find a surprise in their ice with this activity. Place the toy in a slot of an ice tray or in a plastic cup. Pour water over the toy. You can use water with a few drops of food coloring to disguise the toy inside if you would like. Put the tray or cup into the freezer for at least several hours.
When the ice is frozen solid, remove the cube. Let the kids keep tabs on the ice as it melts. When the toy becomes unfrozen, the kids will get a big kick out of their frozen find. Ask them how it got into the ice. Let the kids repeat the experiment for themselves to learn about the properties of ice.
You can freeze several toys in pieces of ice and have a race to see whose toy melts the fastest. Sprinkling salt onto the ice or pouring warm water over the cube to melt it can add to the fun of the game.
Fun Frozen Cup
- Ice cup mold
- 3 oz plastic cup
- 8-12 oz plastic cup
You can purchase molds to create small cups made of ice. (The original intent is shot glasses, but they make perfect kid sized cups for juice or other kid-friendly beverages). You simply pour water in the mold and allow it to freeze. The frozen cup can then be used for drinks. The kids will be amazed as the cup begins to melt away in their hands.
You can also make your own ice cup mold using plastic cups. First, you fill a normal sized plastic drinking cup (9 oz cups work best) about a third of the way with water. Put a small 2-3 ounce plastic cup on top of the water so that it is floating level with the top of the larger cup. Tape the top of the cups so the small cup remains still. Make sure the water comes about a half an inch above the bottom of the small cup. Place in the freezer.
After 4-5 hours, the cup should be frozen. Remove the tape and the small cup. Run warm water over the large cup until the frozen ice slides out easily. And now you have a cup made of ice. Either put the frozen cup back into the freezer for later or pour a drink into it immediately and enjoy. The cup will begin melting as you drink.
- Hot beverage (tea, coffee, hot chocolate, etc)
- Ice cream or Popsicle
Make it seem as if you can breathe ice with this simple trick. The trick is similar to the fog that can be seen when a freezer is opened in a hot room. You can create fog or steam breath by applying the same idea. It will look like the steamy breath that is visible on cold days.
The ideal situation to create icy breath is on a really hot day or in a hot room. First drink some of the hot liquid. Then take a big bite of ice cream or Popsicle (or even a normal piece of ice). While holding the ice cream in your mouth, slightly pucker your lips and breathe out.
You should see a cold fog as you breathe out. The best way to produce the fog is to have the liquid as hot as you can without it burning your tongue. You’ll want to drink the liquid and then put the ice cream or ice into your mouth as soon as possible. If you get brain freeze, just touch the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth where your nasal passage is.
- 3 Plastic containers with flat lids
Ice forms interesting patterns when it freezes. The condition of the water has an effect on what the patterns look like.
To create your own ice designs, fill one of the containers halfway full of normal water straight from the tap. Put the lid on the container and place it in the freezer.
Fill the second container halfway full with normal water. Place the lid on the container. Shake the container for about 30 seconds to create air bubbles in the water. Put the container into the freezer. If you have an aerator on your faucet it will also help create air bubbles in the water.
Boil a pan of water. Turn the water off and allow it to stop boiling. Before the water has a chance to cool any further, pour the hot water directly into the third container so that it is about halfway full. Place the lid on the container. Put the container into the freezer quickly but carefully so that the water is still hot.
Leave the containers in the freezer for at least five hours. Take the containers out and remove the lids. What kind of design did the different types of water make on the lids? What kind of designs are in the blocks of ice?
You can use magnifying glasses to look at the ice designs closer. Running cold water over the blocks of ice will help remove fog from the outside. You should see air bubbles inside the block with the hot water and in the block from the water with air.
See which block looks cloudier. Do you notice any other interesting shapes or designs in the ice?
To expand, try the experiment using filtered water and bottled water. Do you notice a difference with it? You can explore other types of water and what it looks like frozen. What about muddy or dirty water? Does it look different? Freeze other liquids besides water. What kind of frozen designs do these liquids make?
- 2 Pieces of lanyard about 18-24 inches long
- Large beads
- Ice tray
- Food colored water or fruit juice
Make an edible ice necklace that you can nibble on while you wear it. Tie one end of the lanyard and string the beads along it. Then tie the other end of the lanyard.
Tape the necklace to one end of the ice tray. Place one or two of the beads down into each of the cube slots. Tape the necklace on the top of each slot to keep the beads in place.
Slowly pour in the colored water or fruit juice. Fill the slots about 2/3 of the way full. Place the ice tray carefully in the freezer and leave it in there for at least 4 hours.
Remove the tray from the freezer and carefully remove the necklaces. Tie them on and enjoy! They will begin melting once out of the freezer, so expect a bit of mess. This is great for a hot day outside. Wear clothing that won’t be ruined as the ice melts.
Which is more fun?
How to Make Instant Ice
Make It Even Icier with These Cool Ice Activities
- Easy Snow and Ice Experiments
Ideas for simple but cool science experiments about snow and ice that will get kids interested in learning about nature's frozen wonders. Includes exploding ice, making frost, snow, and icicles, salt, and dry ice.
- How to Make Snow Ice Cream
Newly fallen snow can be not only beautiful to look at, but a delicious treat as well. Ice cream can be made from snow using a few simple ingredients. Whip up some snow ice cream to pass the time and fill your belly.
- Making Drinks with Dry Ice
Using dry ice to make drinks is easy and entertaining. You can use dry ice to make root beer, sodas, spooky punches, and mysterious fogging drinks.