Thursday, August 14, 2014

// // Leave a Comment

Elsa's Ice Castle Science Experiment Play

Those hot summer days are almost over, but this Ice Castle Science Experiment Play (inspired by Elsa, of course!) can also work wonderfully in an indoor tray! This easy and fun science project is perfect for teaching kids about melting points.

Our kiddos had a fabulous time building their own ice castles out of real ice cubes and a secret ingredient that helped them stick together faster!  This science play takes almost zero prep time, is super easy to clean up, and appeals to a huge age range, making it the perfect group activity!

Some of the towers were simpler than others, but all the kiddos loved sticking the ice together and adding color!

You can make an ice castle too!  The ingredients are super simple:

lots of ice, salt, and liquid water colors (see note at bottom).

I also put out a big blue blanket for everyone to work on.  This helped the ice on the bottom of each tower hold still better and gave everything a cool blue tint!  Our younger children especially loved the texture change of the blanket as the ice melted and the blanket became more and more wet!

Pour small piles of salt around the blanket.  To make the ice cubes stick together, generously dip one ice cube in salt, wait a second, and then place it on top of another ice cube.

When you're done, (or at any point in the middle!), add drops of liquid watercolors for an even more magical look!

This Ice Castle Science Play works as a science experiment, sensory play, and so much more!  You could do it with a construction unit, a discussion on states of matter, or just for fun!  

When you finish, use a garden hose to spray the color off of your blanket.  Or, if you're inside, just dump the colored water down the sink!  

What's going on?

Salt lowers the freezing point of water, which makes it melt faster.  When you dip (or sprinkle) the salt onto the ice, the ice touching the salt will melt faster than the rest of the cube, resulting in fascinating tunnels and caves throughout the ice cube.  The melted water is still so cold that it will temporarily re-freeze when you put it on top of another super cold ice cube, making it easier to build a "castle."  Of course, they still break easily and younger children may have even more fun sprinkling salt and coloring the tunnels!  My daughter, however, was very pleased with her ice castle and loved adding a stream of blue right down the middle:

Liquid Watercolors Note:  Liquid watercolors are absolutely amazing!  You can see how we make our own here, you can buy them on Amazon (affiliate link below!), or you can substitute food coloring!

Do your kids love Frozen-inspired science projects and activities?  If so, be sure to check out this science experiment, where you can freeze water instantly!!

Amazon Affiliate Links:

I may share at any of these parties!