Ice Sculptures are a really "cool" way to explore water in all its physical states.

Ice-cubes, blocks, etc.
Table salt
Rock salt
Kosher salt (optional)
Eye droppers or pipettes
Liquid Watercolor or food coloring (red, yellow, blue)
Sensory tub or water/sand table
Small containers/cups to hold the salt and coloring

Ice Sculptures
Download Activity
*Download a printable PDF


  1. Freeze water in a variety of sizes and shapes of empty containers-plastic bowls, jello molds, cardboard milk containers, ice cube trays, etc.
  2. Empty the ice shapes and ice cubes into the sensory tub or water table
  3. Place small cups of salt and rock salt in the tub
  4. Place small cups of Liquid Watercolor in tub. Add a pipette or eye dropper to each cup.
  5. Have children sprinkle salt and rock salt on the ice shapes. Encourage them to add ice cubes to the larger ice shapes. As the salt melts the ice, the ice cubes and ice pieces will stick to each other creating a unique "sculpture."
  6. Children then use the pipettes to drop the Liquid Watercolors into the cracks and holes created by the rock salt and salt
  7. Remember to take a photo of the ice sculpture before it melts away
Learning Outcomes/Desired Results
  1. Cognitive--Science-Cause and Effect--as you discuss the chemical reaction that ice has when salt is sprinkled on it. Salt lowers the freezing point of ice, causing it to melt.
  2. Cognitive--Science-Cause and Effect-solids transforming into liquids
  3. Cognitive-Science-Cause and Effect-mixing primary colors (red, yellow, blue) you make the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple)
  4. Physical-Fine Motor Skills-using small muscles (pincher grasp) in fingers to squeeze the bulb of the pipette or dropper and to pick up grains of salt and chunks of rock salt.
  5. Physical-Fine Motor Skills-hand-eye coordination-hands and eyes working together to accomplish a task-using fingers to manipulate pipette with color and squirting colors into salt crevices
  6. Cognitive-Problem Solving and Critical Thinking-some children will have difficulty in figuring out how to get the color into the pipette and then onto the ice. Handling the eye dropper will be a challenge, so they should be shown how to use it and encouraged to keep trying until they succeed.
  7. Language Development as children talk excitedly about what they see happening
  8. Encourages creativity and persistence.
  9. Social/Emotional Development is fostered as this is an open-ended activity with no right or wrong way to do this activity. It promotes children's self-esteem.
Relevant Workshop
OODLES OF ART! Creative, Imaginative, Fun