Most preschoolers love to play in the water, making it a great medium for teaching introductory science skills. Adding ice to the mix increases the excitement for young children and keeps them engaged. Don't just hand your preschooler a bunch of ice cubes and walk away. They do pose a choking hazard if he pops one in his mouth, and he'll have more fun if you participate.
1. Ice Cube Fishing
Fishing for ice cubes doesn't take up a lot of space and creates a minimal mess, making it an ideal choice for keeping your preschooler entertained without hours of clean-up. To do the experiment, place an ice cube in a small glass of water. Give your child a string and challenge her to catch the ice cube. This doesn't work very well, so before frustration sets in, have your preschooler shake some salt onto her ice cube. After several seconds, have her try again. The salt helps adhere the string to the ice, allowing her to reel in a catch.
Preschoolers are masters of mess making and allowing them to do an experiment that is messy is fun and engaging for them. Place a towel on the floor or table and put down a glass of water, filled about half full, and a bowl of ice cubes. Have your child guess how many ice cubes it will take to overflow the cup of water. Next, have him start adding the cubes until the water flows over the edge of the glass, counting them as he goes. Fill the cup to different levels to vary the number of ice cubes needed for overflow.
3. Ice Painting
Painting with ice cubes is cleaner than traditional artwork, a perk for parents, but allows your preschooler to see what happens to ice when it’s exposed to warm temperatures and friction, a perk for him. Give your preschooler an ice cube and allow him to rub it back and forth across paper, the sidewalk or the siding on your house. As the ice melts, he'll see the cube getting smaller and as the warm air comes into contact with his painting, he'll see it drying right before his eyes.
4. Ice Sculptures
Making ice sculptures allows your preschooler to foster her creativity and see what happens to ice when other ingredients come into contact with it. First, fill a large bowl about halfway with water and freeze. Remove the ice and lay it upside down on a large plate or cookie sheet. Have your child sprinkle the ice block with kosher salt. Next, have him drop food coloring onto the sculpture. As the salt melts the ice into different shapes, the color makes it easier to see.
- Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images