Melting hearts with the kids this Valentine’s Day is an inexpensive activity which lets preschoolers explore colors as they play! The ice play also provides them with the opportunity to improve fine motor skills and strengthen hands to help with writing in the future.
Melting Hearts Ice Play
- Heart shaped ice tray
- Food coloring or liquid water color
- Tongs, Spoons, Ladles
- Bowls or Plates
- Spray bottle with water (optional)
- Paper towels (just to have on hand)
- Put 3-7 drops of food coloring into each ice cube tray. Since blue is a darker color I used less drops then I did of the red. The amount you use depends on your preference and the size of the ice cube tray. I made only primary colored ice but you could always make any colored ice you like.
- If staining is a concern, liquid watercolors make a great alternative to food coloring.
- Carefully fill the tray with water and place it on a flat surface in the freezer. (This was the tricky part for me. I had to do some rearranging.)
- Once the ice has set, dump the ice cubes into a container and repeat the process until you have all the colored ice cubes you need. I did this activity with my two kids and made 12 ice cubes, which lasted an hour.
- Let children know they will be playing with colored ice that has food coloring in it. This means whatever the ice touches will get color on it. If using liquid watercolors, this warning isn’t necessary.
- Have the children put on a smock or an old shirt.
- Show them the tools they have available to use during the activity. I loved how this activity encouraged them to practice using spoons and tongs for fine motor control.
- Let the children place colored ice on plates or bowls and watch the colors mix as the ice melts.
- I let my kids explore and choose which colors to mix together. As the colors mixed they would imagine they were making something to eat that matched the color, like blueberry pie and pumpkin soup. Here they are busy at work.
- Let children use the spray bottles to melt the ice faster. Using spray bottles is a fun way to strengthen hands. I did need to remind my kids to leave their plates on the table, instead of lifting the plate and spraying everything around them. Since it was just water it was easy to clean up (this is where the paper towels on hand may be needed).
Have you tried an ice play activity like this with the kids? If you are looking for another fun and inexpensive way to explore colors this Valentine’s Day try our Mix ‘n Squish Hearts: Sensory Bags.