When it’s SUPER cold outside, it’s the perfect time to explore ice! There are so many experiments and investigations you can do with it too. Ice changes as you investigate it which captivates their attention and gets them excited about science. Ice cab melt, break, change color, and so much more.
If you need winter centers for the whole classroom, click HERE to read a post about my favorite Winter Centers and Activities (math, literacy, fine motor, sensory, and more).
During our ice exploration lesson, I set up daily blocks of ice, cups of blue water, small droppers, and tweezers in the sensory table. Each morning students came in asking to explore the ice! They LOVED it!Using the droppers, students squirted the ice both up close and from far away. Two friends discovered that if they squirt the ice up close it would make a hole. They were running around the classroom telling everyone what they discovered. It was so exciting! They LOVED hitting, tapping, and squeezing the ice with the tweezers to make the holes bigger and bigger!The week before I set up an Ice Rescue in the sensory table. I froze arctic animals in bowls of water. Students had to try to set the animals free using tweezers, water, and pipettes.Painted Ice Experiment! I mixed pastel paints for students to paint ice cubes with. Luckily, we have a big ice maker so I didn’t have to make all this ice by hand. Here is how the ice looked when we began. By painting the ice, they could easily see the ice melting, dripping, and mixing.Two students took the experiment further by painting the same ice cubes. One student questioned, “I wonder what would happen if we both painted the ice cubes?”Then the ice really started to melt! It was a fun activity for students to observe change. They noticed how the paint got lighter as the ice melted, commented on how the colors mixed together to make new colors, and how the paint made the ice melt faster.This is the ice about an hour after we started. You may be wondering: did her preschool students spend an hour painting ice? Well, no. Students took turns painting the ice. Students could paint the ice for as little or as long as they wanted to. It was an engaging experiment for the kids (and the teachers)!We also had a tray of ice that we painted with warm colors. Students compared the two trays of ice throughout the experiment.Ice and Snow Science Center! Set up a fabulous science center so students can explore and investigate ice and snow independently during center time. Put up real photos, snowflake posters, magnifying glasses, and measuring cubes! Students can examine real photos of snowflakes up close, measure them, match them, and sort them by size.
Watch Me Melt Snowman Experiment! Make a snowman by freezing water balloons overnight. Then peel off the balloon so you can create an ice snowman. Put it on a tray to observe it melt and change as the day goes. Measure it and record students’ observations just like real scientists do. Take and print photos so students can visually see how it changed.
Making Snowflakes! Set up and fun symmetry and shape activity where students are making their own snowflakes with paper or real pattern blocks. Students will develop their spatial awareness as they create the snowflakes.
Building Arctic Habitats! I wanted to set up a place in my block center that invited students to build arctic habitats. On the shelf is a variety of arctic animals, snow (white felt), water (blue textured foam paper), ice (jewels), and non-fiction books for students to use as a reference. You can also cover blocks with foil to make it look like ice. Look at all of the object substitution that students are able to do with these materials!Don’t you LOVE this arctic habitat a group of girls made! They worked together with persistence for over 50 minutes on it! I was so impressed.Dramatic Play Skating Rink! This month we have changed our dramatic play center into an Ice Rink. Students measure the skates for the skaters and count the money when skaters pay for food and skates. Students are building fine motor when they scoop the popcorn into bags and use tweezers to put the ice cubes into the cups. Students have to wait, take turns, use social conventions, and communicate with each other during their play. The amount of social skills and language that occurs during pretend play is HUGE! Pretend play is so IMPORTANT! The ice skating rink is great for building gross motor muscles too! Students have to “skate” on laminated paper ice skates. It is harder than you think. I have also used paper plates for ice skates. You can read more about our Ice Rink HERE.Painting with Frozen Paint! I put paint into ice cube trays, added popsicle sticks, and put it in the freezer overnight.I set the frozen paint out to thaw for about 10 minutes, and then we were ready to paint. The only directions I gave were to pretend to skate the frozen paint around on the paper like when they were ice skating. The paint melted as they moved it around on their paper!
Take the ice theme all about the classroom and learn about Polar Animals! Check out THIS POST for tons of ideas!
Need more winter themed activities? Check out my Winter Theme Pinterest board for more inspiration.