Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ice play at the Farmers' Market

Since the weather is getting colder, and my kids are already looking forward to sledding and snowballs, I thought I'd bring some ice to the Farmers' Market this week for some frozen fun.

My favorite thing to do with ice is super simple. I give each child an ice cube and a piece of string. I challenge them to pick up the ice cube with the string without touching the cube with their hands. After giving them a few minutes to attempt the task, almost none are able to successfully pick up the ice. (Abby, below, was the only one who was able to do it, by waiting for the ice to wet the string well, and carefully sliding the string under the entire length of the ice cube.)

But I have an easier way. I drape the string across the ice and sprinkle it with salt. After a little bit, the salt has melted the top layer of ice. However, the water quickly refreezes as the salt dilutes and the ice itself wicks away heat from the water layer. The result is that the string is frozen into the ice! You can lift it easily. It's one of the oldest magic tricks in the book.

There are so many science experiments you can do with ice. Challenge the kids to create ice that is perfectly clear... or completely cloudy. Ask them which freezes faster -- hot water or cold. Try freezing tap water, distilled water and salt water to compare results. Have an ice melting contest and come up with lots of methods for melting ice as fast as you can. the possibilities are endless!

Of course, I wanted to have some artsy fun too. So I diluted some of my washable tempra paint with water and put it into some fun ice cube trays. I covered that with foil and placed Popsicle sticks into each one. (The foil helps hold the Popsicle sticks straight up.) When they were frozen we used the paint Popsicles as brushes to crate out own artwork!

Of course, the kids quickly came up with their own ideas! They sprinkled salt on the paper, after painting it, to create speckled patterns. That was fun. Then Henry took a piece of paper towel and made a print! Even when the ice melted, we still had a good time splashing the paint around.

So I hope you'll have some fun playing with ice!

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