Science experiments are a fun, hands-on way of learning for kids. Pari has been asking for more and more of these lately. So, I’m always on the look-out for a playful science project.
With summers at its peak in our part of the world, water-based or ice-based play and science activities are so much relief.
I’d seen this cool (literally) ice and salt experiment at The Artful Parent, and we tried it once last year. But, we hadn’t done it on a slab of ice as we did this time. We’d used ice cubes and the results weren’t as spell-binding.
This time though, we made sure we used a block of ice. Pari filled an empty juice carton with water and left it to freeze overnight. We conducted the experiment the next afternoon.
Other than an ice block, we didn’t need much else. Only – salt, food colour and/or water colour.
Oh, and a deep tray and preferably an eye-dropper. (if not, you can use a paint brush, too)
First, we diluted some water colour from the tubes because we didn’t have the full range in food colours. Just green, yellow, orange wouldn’t be as much fun. We needed purple, blue and pink, too.
But then, if you have water colour tubes or even cakes, converting them into liquid water colour is easy peasy.
Now, the fun begins.
I gave Pari the common table salt as well as some sea salt. We wanted to see if different salts would yield different results.
Else where on the net, I’ve seen some using kosher salt for better results. But, we didn’t have any.
In retrospect, the sea salt worked pretty good actually….
Here are some pictures looking at which you will agree with me that this activity, though pure science, is nothing short of art and gorgeousness!
Pari layered some table salt over sea salt.
She dropped colours in small areas using an eye dropper.
After a few minutes with the greens and the blues, she’d had enough of those colours.
Here comes the ‘pink’ pouring down in a riot…
And, soon we were marveling at those gleaming pink ice structures; simultaneously discussing the science behind it. We also discussed why in places where it snows, they use salt to melt and clear it.
They looked like sparkling crystals…leaving us gasping for more and more…
If this is not art, what is?
Infact, looking at these, we were reminded of coral reefs! Don’t you think so?
As the ice kept melting, the tray was filled with coloured water. So, we emptied it and continued till the last drop…!
And the bonus fun of this experiment – it turned out to be a rich opportunity for Pari to do photography. She tried her hands at different features – white balance and macro mode. Played around with composition. I gave her some tips about how to make the best use of light puring through the adjacent window. She also made some videos of me as we both burst into an impromptu song and dance sequence – “tic tic tic tastic, super fun-tastic” haha! it’s her fav line till date….
And bonus number two – squeezing in some moments of art!
I quickly rushed to get paper kitchen towels. I folded it twice to get a square piece and then had Pari press it on to the coloured ice crystals.
And voila! The edgy zig-zag surface of the ice formed beautiful impressions on the paper towel. The colours soaked deep enough so that when we opened the whole piece, it was laced with those patterns! I went on to make a few myself.
I tell you, this experiment is as much fun for adults as it is for kids. I can say I went wild with joy looking at those gorgeous ice structures and crystals. It’s a playground for the camera-crazy….!
Some more ideas on ice salt experiments:
- Ice Sculptures with a castle-like shaped ice at Creative Jewish Mom
- If the ice castle was adorable, this ice skull salt experiment is..well…gruesome?! But, fun still!