Early Years Science Play
This is another fun way for children to explore the properties of ice and water and discover how it changes from solid to liquid (see my other post on frozen plants and flowers). Children love playing with ice but having some toys to rescue from the ice makes it even more exciting! Children can find different ways to make the ice melt faster (or slower) in order to rescue their toys.
What you need
- Large ice cube trays or baby food freezer tray
- Small toys (I used Duplo people for these pictures)
- Salt (optional) ***
***Only use salt to melt ice if there is no risk of children touching it as the reaction can cause burns.*** My son is very cautious and listens when told not to touch things so the risk was low. If you have a child or children that might just grab them don’t risk it! There are many ways to explore melting ice so let them enjoy those.
We decided to see what happened when we put salt on a few of the ice cubes. We left a couple with no salt on them so we could compare and see which ones melted faster. My son tried to predict which one would melt the fastest before we started.
Straight after we put the salt on top of them they began to crack and melt which he found fascinating. It took a long time for the ice to melt as it wasn’t too hot that day. This allowed us to play with some of the other pieces of ice and then come back to see what had happened to the ones we put salt on.
Questions to ask
- What do you think will happen if we put salt on the ice?
- Which one do you think will melt faster? Slower? Why?
- What do you notice? Are there any differences?
- What happened?
- Can you make it melt faster/slower?
- What happens to the ice? Where did it go?
- How could you make the water solid again?
What they get from it
This is an enjoyable and hands on way for children to begin to have fun with science. Children will begin to learn about the properties of water and the concept of liquid, solid (and possibly gas as the water evaporates). This can also provide the opportunity for children to engage in enquiry based learning as children can explore what happens to the ice in different situations as they try different ways to make the ice melt faster or slower.
Take it further
See my flowers in ice surprise for a similar activity.
Eventually you could talk to children about what happens to the melted water. Children could draw a circle in chalk around the puddle and then keep checking on it to see what happens over the course of a sunny afternoon.
Children could put a bar of chocolate in the sunshine to see what happens to it. Then they can see what they can do to make the chocolate solid again. This is a fun way to explore states of matter.