This ice experiment for kids uses little fishing rods with toy fish frozen in ice on the end. The activity aims to investigate whether ice melts faster in warm or cold water.
Younger children love the idea of fishing and seeing the toy fish fall off the stick. If you have an older child, this is an excellent experiment for learning how to work scientifically as they can start to think about which variables to change and which to keep the same.
Ice Experiment for Kids
What you need to go ice fishing
2-3 large tubs
Water – warm and cold
Plastic fish – we used these Learning Resources Fun Fish Counters
Ice cube tray
How to go ice fishing
Place water inside ice cube trays with fish ( or other small objects ). Add a piece of string to each compartment. Make sure the string doesn’t end up in more than one section, as some of ours stuck together.
Once frozen, remove carefully and tie each ice cube to a stick.
Add warm water to one tub and cold water to another. Ask the children to feel the water ( make sure it’s not too hot ) and predict which will melt the ice the fastest.
Place one fishing rod into each tub and start the timer.
Observe the changes to the ice every 30 seconds; how soon can you see the difference between the ice in the warm and ice in the cold water?
Watch for the fish falling out of the ice and record the time.
Compare the results with your predictions.
Questions to ask
How does the ice change over time?
How can you tell which ice cube is melting the fastest?
What can you do to speed up the ice melting?
Can you try using hot, warm and cold water, recording all the times taken for the ice to melt?
Are the results different if you carry out the activity outside?
Can you design a table for recording your results?
Measure the temperature of the water. Does it drop as the ice melts? How big is the temperature difference?
Things to think about
How could we make this experiment more accurate?
- We should make sure precisely the same amount of water is in each ice cube and that the fish are the same size.
- Do you know what the variables and constant factors are?
As soon as we finished this activity, my girls started reciting Tiddler, which then led to some fun storytelling and counting with the fish counters.
More Ice Experiments for Kids
Painting on ice is great fun as you can paint a picture, wipe it clean and start again!
Set up an ice excavation! The best thing about these is that you can theme them to match a child’s interest.
Ice fishing is also one of my Tray a Day activities. The idea is that you set up a tray of materials and let the kids set up the investigation ( with adult supervision).
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- Changes of state
Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Emma Vanstone