Thursday, 10 April 2014

Ice + Salt = Science + Fun!

Salt makes ice melt. And when you add colour to that, it makes funtime! Let's see how!

This is so much fun that there are chances you will forget that it was an experiment to begin with! We have done this almost 3 to 4 times in our house and it is a big hit! (It is also a good ruse to keep your restless brat busy when you have something urgent to do).

What you need for this fun experiment is -
  • A big bowl or dish for setting the ice - you can take multiple bowls as well if you so wish; more ice = more funtime!
  • A large tray with sides, to hold the water as the ice melts
  • Water colours / food colouring
  • Salt
  • Droppers/pipette or spoons
Fill your bowls or dishes with water and put them in the freezer to make ice. When its all done, you need to upturn the ice over the dish or large tray. A few minutes in room temperature and some water poured over will loosen the sides and the ice block will slide easily.

Give your child a bowl of table salt (a modest amount) and she can start sprinkling it over the ice. Make sure that they just sprinkle, you don't want your child to waste heaps. I gave A a salt shaker, that took care of the right amount of salt required.  Almost immediately, you can see the trail of water trickling down and making ravines or crevices on the mound.

After a few moments of watching this happen, you can bring out the colours. If you are using droppers or pipettes, you need to give your kids a little time to learn how to use them. I let A practice by using it in a glass of water - they need some time to understand how to suck up the liquid and then let it out.

The reason for the use of these colours is to bring out the crevices made by the melting salt - its beautiful to see the colours gushing into little valleys inside the mound where the finger cannot touch.

When you see the colours escaping into the crevices inside the mound, invite your little one to touch the sides and inspect her finger - she will not have the colour on her finger!

You can explain to your child that the room temperature will melt the ice anyway, but the salt helps to melt the ice at much cooler temperatures. So basically, where the salt has met the ice, the ice melts sooner there.

If you can manage to take your multi-coloured ice block outside, do so. We did our little experiment outside, in daylight and it was oh-so-beautiful! The ice block looked like a beautiful suncatcher!

We even got some new colours - when we dropped some blue in yellow, we got this :-) Isn't it absolutely bewitching?

We ooh-ed and aah-ed over it for a while till it was time to go in. A played with it for some more time - she picked up the mixed water in the pipette and kept pouring it back on the block.

Some by-the-way fancy photography! Haha!

Finally, we put all the coloured, non-toxic water on a daffodil plant outside our door.

What do you think will happen to the lovely, yellow daffodil? Does that sound like the subject matter for another experiment? ;-) Let's wait and watch!

I hope you find this interesting enough to try this at home with your little ones! :-)


  1. OMG, where do you get such ideas from? Btw, these pics remind me of the coloured ice sticks that are sold in summer :)

  2. Wow amazing! Will try at the earliest with my kiddo!

  3. Absolutely wonderful activity and very nicely presented..will try it with my younger one)

  4. Your using colors make the experiments all the more delightful for kids ... loved it :-)