How many times during the winter season do you have a fight with ice? You sprinkle salt on the pathway and the driveway, hack at the ice under the snow to get it off the sidewalk, and quietly mutter at the black ice that you and your car slide around on during the winter months.
But ice can be beautiful too. If you’re blessed with cool weather this winter, enjoy it a bit! Create ice sculptures and explore the properties of this glass-like material.
Young children enjoy exploring the different ways that ice moves and shatters. The shattering part is the most fun, of course! Find an icy puddle and skate on top of it. Find a puddle that isn’t ice all of the way through, and let your children discover how much weight it can hold before they smash right through the top layer. If it rains and then freezes, dig in the ground to find columns of ice and soil. If you have a microscope or a hand lens, examine them under the lens.
If it’s not too cold outside, these little pieces of ice combine nicely with icicles to make delightful winter playthings. The kids can make a pond for their toys or create an icicle fence. Just be sure to wear warm and waterproof mittens!
Older children will enjoy creating ice crafts. Turn ice from a material that frustrates into a material of beauty. One of the easiest ice creations to make is the ice bowl. Take an old, thin metal bowl and fill it two-thirds of the way full with water. Take another, smaller bowl and place it in the middle of the first bowl. Use a weight to hold this bowl down. Put the entire thing in the freezer or outdoors if it is cold enough. Once the water has frozen, bring it inside and run warm water around the base of the larger bowl. Gently pry out the smaller bowl. You will have an ice bowl, perfect for cool drinks or playing in an outdoor kitchen, at least for a while! If the kids want to get really creative, get them to place objects into the water and freeze them.
Ice lanterns always make me wish that I lived in a cooler, snowier place. You can use an ice bowl as a simple lantern. Fill it with tap water and place a floating candle in the middle of the water. Place the lantern outdoors. If you would like to make a more complex lantern, simply find a plastic or metal container and put water inside the container. A child’s beach bucket works well for this purpose. Add another container inside the first, so that there will be space for a candle in the middle. Once again, freeze the two containers, then remove the container parts so that you are left with the ice.
Image Credit: arinas74