Ice play

I have a lovely toddler ice play idea for you today. This could be adapted for older children also.

We filled a balloon with water and left it in the freezer till the water froze inside.

ice play


I let the water melt a little bit before letting H play as ‘sticky’ ice is not very nice to touch. She kept picking it up and putting it down again telling me it was ‘cold’ and ‘a bit slippy’. H then decided it looked like a snake and added some eyes.

Once the ice had melted a little more we removed the balloon.


I let H play with the ice a little more, and then we added some salt to try and make it melt faster. The salt worked and the snake literally melted before our eyes.

The Science explained

Why does water freeze?

Water can be a solid, liquid or gas.  In liquid form the water particles can move around freely, so the water takes the shape of the container it is in. When you cool the water down the movement of the particles slow down and the particles become tightly packed together, which means its shape cannot change easily.

Why is ice sticky?

Ice feels sticky because when you touch it, the ice immediately freezes the moisture in your skin, which makes the cube feel sticky.

Why does salt make the ice melt faster?

This is because salt lowers the freezing point of the water. We saw another example of this when we made frost.


Don’t forget to check out our other ice experiment/play ideas here.

Warning – always keep a close eye on children playing with balloons and remember the ice will be very cold to start with.

There are 6 comments

  1. Two of Everything

    I used to do this using a plastic glove with my nursery class and they always loved it – I’ve never done it with a long balloon though, great idea! I found if you put a lot of salt on one area then drip food colouring on, you can watch the salt ‘eating’ into the ice. It’s fascinating 🙂

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