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Crafts

Winter Nature Craft: Beautiful Ice Moulds and Suncatchers

Dec 26, 2012

We recently spent a morning gathering items from around my yard and ravine to make ice moulds and icy suncatchers. When I write "we," I mean me and The Hooligans (the children who attend my daycare). The Hooligans were in their glory because we combined several of their favourite activities: a nature walk, a treasure hunt and a chance to create. Ice moulds and suncatchers are beautiful - and simple projects - that provide an opportunity for you and your child to spend time connecting with each other and with nature. They're also a great idea for a play date, if you happen to have a bunch of kids over!To make your moulds, you'll need:

  • bag/basket for collecting
  • scissors or garden snippers
  • pan/container for your mould (we used a Bundt pan and a cake pan)
  • water
  • twigs, sprigs, pine cones, etc.
  • colourful plastic or glass beads (optional)

Now it's time to head into the great outdoors! (If you don't have a backyard, visit a local park, playground or schoolyard.)

Take your time as you and the kids explore your environment and search for goodies. A nature walk is a wonderful way to slow down and be present and in the moment with little ones. Savour the journey or the "process" stage of the project. It's more important than the end result because the time spent discovering, learning and creating together will be remembered long after the project itself is forgotten.

As the kids gather items, take the opportunity to teach them about the plants and trees around you, using their names, if you know them. I pointed out rose hips, and we examined pine cones. We felt the soft silkiness of a long-needled pine tree, and carefully touched the prickly spruce and yew. We stopped to squeeze and smell a fistful of cedar, and we rubbed sprigs of lavender between our palms to release their scent. When we returned home, The Hooligans dumped their treasures and got to work.

They trimmed and tucked and stuffed until our Bundt pans were overflowing. Then they added a string of red beads for a splash of colour, and topped the pans up with water. (I've heard that using distilled water will result in clearer ice, but our water was straight from the tap, and the mouds turned out beautifully.)For our icy suncatcher, we used a heart-shaped cake pan and a few sparkly items from the craft cupboard. (Hint: lay a loop of ribbon or string at the top of this mould so you can hang the suncatcher from a branch once it's frozen.) 

Now it's just a matter of placing your moulds in the freezer overnight, or if the temperature is cold enough where you live, leave the moulds outside to freeze. Once the moulds are frozen, run a little warm water over the outside of the pan to loosen and release your mould. If you used a Bundt pan, you can set a candle inside your mould, but please be careful as the greenery may be close to the flame as the ice melts. 

Aren't they beautiful? Kind of like an "I Spy" game encased in ice! 

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