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Winter Activity for Kids: Backyard Ice Sculptures

Feb 19, 2014

If you're looking for a backyard winter activity that the whole family can participate in, here's one that's sure to be a hit. Kids of all ages will want to get in on the fun here and grown ups won't be able to resist getting involved.

What You Need
• ice cube trays
• small plastic containers
• food colouring or liquid water colours
• water bottle(s)

How to Make Coloured Ice
Depending on how much ice you want to make, you'll need to start at least a day or two ahead of time.

Your ice will be too dark if you add a drop of colour to each section of the ice cube tray, so I prefer filling a jug with water, and adding 5 or 6 drops of food colouring to the jug, and then pouring that water into one or two ice cube trays. I like to make lots of ice for this activity, so I load a several ice cube trays onto a baking sheet, and place that into the freezer. When they're frozen I dump those cubes into a large zip-lock bag and I return that to the freezer. Then I fill up the ice cube trays and containers, and start again. I do this over the course of several days until I have hundreds of cubes and ice shapes for us to work with.

When you're happy with the amount of ice you've made, dump it all into a big bowl or container, and head out into your snowy backyard!

How to Build Ice Sculptures
You'll need to start by mounding up some snow form a small "snow wall" of sorts. This will be your building platform. You can build your structures directly on top of this wall or you can decorate the sides of the wall with your coloured cubes. 

The trick to getting your ice cubes to stick together is to use a water bottle filled with very cold water. To get started, dribble a little water onto the snow and press an ice cube into it. Hold it until it's frozen in place. Each time you add another cube to the one before it, dribble a little water over the cubes, and have everyone count to ten. While you're counting, the water will freeze everything in place. Depending on the temperatures where you are, you may have to count a little longer, or not that long at all.


Challenge your family and friends to see how big you can get your structure to be! 

Article Author Jackie Currie
Jackie Currie

Jackie Currie is a mother, daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind the blog Happy Hooligans. A self-proclaimed glitterphobe, she specializes in easy, affordable arts & crafts and good, old-fashioned play.

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