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April 19, 2013

Ice Art with Salt and Watercolors

Watercolor Ice Art - Water Science for Kids

Watercolor Ice Art - Water Science for Kids

We love making art with ice, so when I saw this cool ice art from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas I knew we had to try it.  

Gorgeous watercolor ice art for kids

How to Create Ice Art with Salt and Watercolors

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Directions:  I filled a large bowl with water and left it overnight in the freezer.  Note:  Depending on your freezer temperature and where you place the bowl it might take longer than overnight to freeze such a large amount of water.

I pulled the container of ice out of the freezer before setting up the bath, so that the ice easily slid out when I was ready for it.  I set it in the tub with the flat side down.  The rounded part made the perfect canvas for our ice art.  First thing when JZ (5) stepped into the bathtub he wanted to feel the ice with his feet.

I instructed the boys to spread salt over the ice.  They loved hearing the ice crack as the salt was absorbed.

Then they got to work creating their ice art.  Using pipettes they dripped watercolors directly onto the ice.

The focus here was art, but I love when we can combine art with building fine motor skills.

We have explored the science of salt and watercolors many times (Easter Eggs, Fireworks and Turkeys), but this was the first time we combined it with ice art.  The results were amazing.

Watercolors are probably my favorite art medium.  (If I had to pick just one.)  Watching the colors blend and spread intrigued me every bit as much as the boys.  Next time I might just have to make a block of ice for myself!

J-Bug also enjoyed dripping watercolors directly onto the bathtub floor.  

The excess water from the melting ice made the colors swirl and blend beautifully.

When the ice was almost completely covered in color the boys dumped the rest of the watercolors on top leaving our ice art in shades of blue, green and purple.  This art exploration was a great way to study color blends and learn about dominant colors when J-Bug asked me where all of the pink went.

Then we were left with a fun sensory experience.  JZ and J-Bug loved running their fingers through the salt and ice and feeling the ice crumble a bit as they touched it.

Sensory play with frozen watercolor art

After playing with the ice sculpture for a bit they were ready to fill the tub with hot water.  It was cool watching the hot water change colors.

The more water they added the more the colors changed, and the ice rinsed clean as the water touched it.

For more ways to explore color theory follow me on Pinterest.

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Ice art with watercolors and salt, combining art and science

More Art with Watercolors:

How to make erupting watercolor paint - simple process art for kids with a little bit of science mixed in!  Painting with rain - Homemade watercolor paint recipe made as the rain falls  Homemade natural watercolors made from real flowers - This experiment is amazing!


  1. My daughters would love this! Liquid watercolors have been on our wish list for a while, and I think it's time to get some. This will be a great summer activity. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I've just signed up for your emails and I'm so glad I did! There's loads of fabulous ideas on here. I'm a registered Childminder in Scotland and I'm always looking for new fresh ideas for the children. I will be trying this one out very soon! Thank you for sharing.

  3. It makes me want to eat a snowcone! Love all the colors that were made. ~mari

  4. We did this in my preschool this past winter and it was a hit!!! I can't wait to do it again, I'm thinking it'll be an excellent summer exploration as well.

  5. Those photos left me feeling completely entranced! This is something my boys would LOVE LOVE LOVE. They are fascinated by ice and watching and feeling it melt, so adding paint and salt to it would only make it better for them. Thanks for the great idea!

  6. Wow, This is just beautiful!!!!... Do the watercolors wash off the bathtub easily?

  7. omg this looks so fun! Will definitely try it~

  8. Honestly, this looks so amazing in the photos! I thought you had some tricky way of making a "painting on the moon" sort of creation! LOL! It looked like a moon to me cuz of the round.. I guess we could always TELL the kids it's a moon like structure :D Thanks again! Our bathtub is about to get veryyy messy!

  9. What a fun experiment! I can truly imagine the kids having a lot of fun with this idea

  10. Cool! Looks fun. Interesting you consistently call them "the boys" instead of "the kids", as if it's important that they're boys!


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