Ice breakers! Rescuing tiny toys
I love it when an activity I’ve done with my kids is so popular they want to do it again and again and this simple science experiment has to be one of their favourites, apart from their requests to ‘do it again tomorrow’ they also demanded that we changed to sign on our lightbox to read ‘unfreeze the animals’ and unusually it’s been kept that way since they played with this. High praise indeed! What I love about this activity is that the kids can help you prepare it in advance or you can prepare it as a surprise for them. Add in the fact that it includes raiding the toybox, recycling bin and kitchen cupboard for supplies rather than spending out loads of money and you’re on to a winner.
You will need:
Small plastic toys
Empty plastic containers – used yoghurt pots are perfect
A dish to put the containers in
Optional – magnifying glass
Let’s do it!
Start by making sure that all your yogurt pots are totally clean and then put one or two of your toys into each pot. We used plastic sea creatures for this but we’ve used little Batman toys and Lego minifigures for this before too, if you had some Frozen toys this would be a great one to try out as Elsa could ‘freeze’ everyone! We placed all the pots inside a container so that it could be easily lifted in and out of the freezer without falling over. Another bonus of this is that if any water spills it will only freeze your pots to the inside the container rather than to the inside of your freezer – my kids must have checked how frozen each pot got at least ten times so they did get wiggled around quite a bit! The kids poured cold water into the pots and then we placed them all in the freezer overnight until they set.
The next day when we took the containers out the yoghurt pots were all frozen into place so I unstuck them by pouring some hot water into the containers. To get the lumps of ice out of the yogurt pots hold them under a hot tap for a moment and then you should be able to push them out, both kids loved looking at their toys trapped in the ice!
Next up was setting the toys free. We placed all the ice cubes back in the container and used warm water and salt to slowly melt the ice. As with all activities you will need to supervise during this just to make sure your kids don’t try to eat all the salt or try to freeze themselves with the ice, my daughter is one of those kids that would happily eat a block of playdough so I’m always sure I can see what they’re up to without trying to stop them having fun. My kids love having a magnifying glass so they can see up close what is happening to the ice, you could also pour a bit of liquid food colouring on top of one of the ice cubes so they can see the route the melting water takes down the ice cubes. A spare medicine dropper is also a great way to get them to put the warm water onto the ice and according to my kids a lot more fun than just pouring water!
When all the toys are free again give them a quick wash and the kids are good to go and play with them… or freeze them again!