An Outdoor Craft -Exploring Freezing & Melting

an outdoor craft

Have your daycare children every felt unmotivated to get bundled up in outdoor clothes and get some fresh air and exercise? Sometimes it’s hard to get my group outside when there has been a string of very cold days.  Sometimes it’s hard for ME to get motivated to go outside in the cold.

I find giving the children a purpose (like a science experiment or a craft) helps spark their curiosity and then suddenly everyone is excited about putting on snow pants. We planned to make ice ornaments to hang from a tree in the backyard.

I found small plastic containers in my recycle bin and gave one to each child.  We went outside on a hunt to find nature items to fill the containers. We did a similar craft a few years ago and the children loved it.

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The kids filled their plastic containers with snow and little twigs.

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They gathered seed pods that had fallen from a tree.  Collecting items is a great way to slow down and really examine nature all around you.

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Leaves, twigs, frozen berries, snow, icicles, seed pods, and sticks all went into the containers.

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I added some ribbon to the top section so that we could later hang up the ice sculptures. The children filled their containers with water and left them outside to freeze.  The learning process is always fun and I love when a few children have their own side experiments they want to try.

One child decided he wanted to see what would happen if he stuck two sticks in his container and filled it with water. Another child thought this was a great idea and decided to put one stick in hers and the ribbon as well.  We are always learning and gaining new ideas from each other.

The children predicted how long it would take for the water to freeze in their containers.  They also talked about whose container would freeze first, the ones with more water or the ones with more nature items.

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Choosing containers with narrow tops was a bad idea!  I had trouble cutting open the plastic containers to slide out the frozen products.

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The children were delighted with their results.  We examined each one and talked about how the water had frozen around different objects. We left them inside to chart how long it would take for them to begin melting.  Once they started to melt, the children quickly placed them outside to save their creations.

We hung them up outside so we could see them from our kitchen window.  It will be interesting to observe the changes of their appearance as the temperature fluctuates throughout the winter.

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Happy experimenting!

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