Earth-friendly Ice Art
Learning and playing outdoors has multiple benefits for both children and adults. Teachers and caregivers looking for ways to get kids playing and learning outdoors in winter can take advantage of the cold weather to co-create eco-friendly, and nature inspired, ice art. As responsible stewards of the environment, finding ways to create art with children that reduces the amount of glitter and paper is an environmental choice that benefits our planet. To begin, you really only need containers, a water source, and loose parts made up from a collection of cuttings from your school garden or school yard. We use our mud kitchen year round and keep a wide variety of baking tins in the mud kitchen that are useful for this purpose.
Mud Kitchen Ice Muffins
In this activity, we used an old muffin tin to collect loose parts from the garden. Once we had a variety of colours and textures, we filled the tins with water and left them out to freeze overnight. The next day, they were examined and appreciated as art, played with and used as loose parts in story telling and grouped together as manipulatives in a multiplication story. Related post: How to build a mud kitchen
In this activity, we used a bundt pan to collect the cuttings from the garden that would add a natural splash of colour and interest to our winter garden. You can either add a ribbon into the pan to freeze, or wrap the ribbon around the completed wreath to hang it from trees, seeds or other areas high enough that the ribbon will not pose a choking hazard. This activity was inspired by The Artful Parent. You can see her post with step by step instructions for making ice wreaths here.
Geometric Ice Shapes
There is also an enormous amount of nature detective work to be done in and around your garden and school yard when the temperatures freeze. Children can search for what shapes remain when the water freezes into corners and edges of objects and depressions in the landscape. On the first day of a good freeze, we spend hours searching for the geometric shapes and icy treasures the ice creates. This activity is also an excellent entry point for meaningfully exploring states of matter.
If your temperatures drop to several degrees below freezing, then be sure to bring your summer bubbles outside for a playful way to observe changing states of matter. Regular summer bubbles will work and need only a good bubble blower to send them on their way. The bubbles can be held place, blown off into the wind, or observed as they freeze into a solid state.
There are many ways to play and learn outdoors during the winter months! Join me on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration to keep everyone playfully learning and wondering through the winter months: