Exploring Coloured Ice

During the recent warm weather we've been making plenty of ice cubes to help us cool off in the heat. Minnie has been fascinated by them, wanting to hold them, & watch them melt at every opportunity! So with this in mind I set up this coloured ice play.

We used our old baby bath filled with tepid water (any large transparent/white container would work well) 2 ice cube trays, & water coloured with red & blue food colouring.

Firstly we made our ice cubes using 3 drops of blue & red food colouring mixed with a little water. Minnie then transferred the coloured liquid to each compartment using a small spoon.

She did a great job filling each section & managed to keep the colours separate. I was amazed at the concentration & care as she did this, & her hand eye co-ordination & motor skills. 

We transferred our coloured penguins & fish shapes to the freezer & left for a couple of hours until solid. Minnie was so excited to have made ice & couldn't wait to get the shapes out to explore more! Not only did the coloured ice look inviting to play with, it gave us a great opportunity to explore solids, liquids, the process of melting, temperatures, texture & colour mixing.

Of course the first thing she did was to feel the ice in her hand & observe it as it started to melt leaving the coloured water in her palm.

When it got too cold to hold she dropped each shape into the warm water. Soon all the ice shapes were added & quickly began to melt. As we were outside on a sunny day the ice provided some great shrinking shadows to follow too.

Minnie tried to catch the ice as it floated around the bath, & noticed that the water was gradually becoming cooler as the ice melted.

As the ice melted it left a trail of colour behind, showing the solid becoming a liquid once more.

The clear water we had started out with was turning a light blue/mauve as the coloured ice started to bleed & mix in the water!

This water play was a simple way to explore freezing & melting. It prompted many questions & discoveries, as well as plenty of sensory play. The cool blue water was just to tempting for these little feet to resist!

We enjoyed this activity outside, but it would be great to explore indoors too, either in the bath, or in a large container on the kitchen floor (perhaps with a few towels too in case of spills)! Next time I think we'll add more colours & more ice cubes to see what happens...


  1. This looks so much fun. Melting ice doesn't seem exciting to me as an adult but looking at your pictures and seeing how it looks through the eyes of a child it's amazing. We will have to try something like this over the summer (once the warm weather returns of course).

    PS. I'm glad to see we are not the only ones that have kept our baby bath for play purposes :D

  2. This looks like so much fun - I especially love the shadows. I did this in winter time & indoors & we had fun freezing objects into silicon bun cases but hadn't thought of doing it in the warmer weather! (Although tha is now a distant memory!) Love this post & will be sharing it.

  3. My girls would love this! I have to start getting more creative with our ice and water play. Summer is moving away from me so fast and I have not even had time to really get creative yet. Thanks for the great inspiration!