Saturday, April 16, 2011

Colored Ice

Kids love playing with ice. It's slippery, wet, messy, and in this case colorful - what's not to love? Not only is this a great sensory activity, but it's also a way to explore the states of matter. Materials are in boldface.

For this activity, you start out with regular, colorless ice cubes. Sprinkle some salt on the ice, then show kids how to carefully drop food coloring a drop at a time on the ice cubes. Watch as the salt, ice, and color work together to create different textures and color patterns. You can use any kind of salt or a combination of different types. The salt makes the colors appear really vibrant. You could also try this without the salt.

At the end, the kids can use the colored ice to paint pictures. Or just have fun watching it melt!

Questions & concepts:
Did the salt make the ice melt slower or faster?
What happens when colors are mixed together?
What are some ways to speed up or slow down the melting process?
Discuss how water can be a solid or a liquid.
Disucss the ways in which water changes state (freezing & melting).
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