Wonder Years: Young children are fascinated by water

Young children are fascinated by water in all its forms. They are especially mesmerized by water changing to ice. Ice play provides an opportunity to allow your young scientist to investigate hands-on and witness a transformation. You can help encourage your child by asking critical thinking questions such as, "where is the water coming from?" or "what would happen if we added warm water?" You also can have your child make a prediction before you begin and write it down. Any of these activities can be extended by having your child keep a drawn, photograph, and/or written observation journal.



Ice cube tray


Food coloring or a few drops of paint

Plastic wrap or foil


1. Tell your child we are making ice paints. Ask where does ice come from?

2. In a pitcher mix water and food coloring. You may want to stop and talk about what will happen when you add the food coloring. You can even add two colors and mix them. Pour into ice cube tray.

3. Cover tray with foil or plastic wrap and poke holes in the center of each tray.

4. Insert One q-tip per hole and then put in freezer to harden.

5. Once hardened take tray out and ask child what happened to the water?

6. Take ice out by holding q-tip and put one or two on a plate

7. Lay out paper and let your child paint.

Continue to discuss what is happening by using words such as melting, transforming, changing from solid to liquid



Plastic containers various sizes

Small toys

1. Gather a few of your child's small toys and place in plastic containers fill with water and place in the freezer. You can place all things that begin with the same letter or similar colors.

2. At bath time take them out and place in the bath

3. You can count the toys in the ice, name them, and observe the ice shrinking.

This is a great time to discuss the changes ice is making and predict how long it will take to melt.

Ice fishing




string cut in 12 inch pieces


1. Tell your child you are going fishing for ice cubes .

2. Put ice cubes in water and then try to lay string on top of ice cube.

3. Once string is on ice cube sprinkle with salt and then pick up your ice cube.

4. You may want to ask child how does the salt help catch the ice cube? Encourage them to experiment by trying other ways to catch the ice.


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