Once in awhile we find a science experiment that is just as much art as it is science. Kids in preschool and kindergarten particularly love these creative and colorful science experiments. Ice painting with salt and watercolors is the perfect balance of art of science and is all kinds of fun!
Getting Ready for Ice Painting with Salt and Watercolors
Ice painting is super easy to set up. We already had everything that we needed.
In the past we used ice cubes in our experiments, but this time I thought it would be fun to freeze some larger blocks of ice. I filled up a plastic Tupperware container with water and threw it into the freezer for several hours.
Once it was frozen I ran the plastic under warm water for a few seconds to loosen up the block of ice. Once it had melted around the edges a bit it easily slid out onto a baking sheet. The students were thrilled to have such a large canvas on which to work.
Ice Painting with Salt and Watercolors
I showed the kids what happens when salt is sprinkled onto ice. They were amazed to watch the salt melt tiny tunnels right down into the block of ice!
They had fun sprinkling salt and waiting for it to melt little tracks and tunnels and caves. Then we got to the REALLY fun part.
We used liquid watercolors to paint on top of the ice and into the salt tunnels. It was amazing to watch the color illuminate all the secret little passageways made by the salt.
The kids spent a solid amount of time painting, creating, and experimenting with the salt and watercolors. In the end they produced some gorgeous works of art!
Clean up was a breeze. Once the kids were done painting I simply put the ice blocks in the sink and let them melt away.
The Science Behind Ice Painting
If you live in an snowy place in the winter, you may already be familiar with how salt melts ice!
Under normal conditions ice melts at 0 degrees Celsius. However, when it is mixed with salt, the melting point of ice decreases because salt molecules get in the way of water molecules bonding together. In simple terms, this means that the salt makes the ice melt.
Since the ice melts in interesting patterns, painting over the patterns creates a gorgeous and unique tunneled masterpiece!
More Science Activities and Ideas
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