If you have a little one that loves Elsa from Frozen or Frozone from The Incredible’s, than you won’t want to skip out on this weeks homemade Monday activity that is sure to bring the magic and marvel of science to life.
When our area had snow in the forecast a few weekends ago, I thought it would be fun to do ice themed science experiments with my kids. I have researched a variety of different instant ice activities and have found which experiments and methods work best. I’m sure many of you have seen videos or articles of water freezing instantly and make it all seem quite simple. However, not all that’s out on the internet is reliable. We were able to test out these fun projects and have refined a few techniques to put together an article to make playing around with the properties of water fun and easy. This article includes a few fun activities to try at home.
THE SCIENCE BEHIND INSTANT ICE
How and why can water freeze in a snap of finger? This is possible by creating a reaction called “snap freezing.” As water freezes, it turns from a liquid to a solid. This process happens by the molecules forming together in such an organized fashion that they form a crystalline structure. For the process of freezing water into ice, it needs a nucleus to form solid crystals and become ice. Water usually has different mineral, particles and impurities which help jump start the crystallization process. However, purified water is free of these impurities. Since there aren’t molecules for the water to latch onto, purified water can be chilled to super cold temperatures and still remain a liquid!
WHAT YOU WILL NEED
The only supplies you will need for the three projects are:
- 16 oz Purified Water Bottles
- Ice Cubes
- Clear Cup (Glass or Plastic)
- Plastic Plate
- Table Salt
This science experiment will leave you saying “Do you want to build a snowman?”
The first step is to set a few unopened purified bottles of water in your freezer. You will want to lay them flat and spaced apart. They will need to chill for any where between 2 hours and 2 hours and 45 minutes. This is the tricky part because you don’t want them to be too warm or too cold in order for the trick to work. I will be honest it took me two tries to get it right. Once your water is ready, slowly take off the cap and slowly pour over an ice cub on a plate.
Another way to do this project that helps keep the water more stabilized is to use a small cooler instead of the freezer. First, fill a cooler half way full of ice. Place water bottles on top of the ice and cover with cold water. Next, pour rock salt over the bottles and ice. You will need about 1 cup for ever 1/2 pound of ice. Allow the bottles to sit in the ice mixture for about 2 hours. The temperature should drop to below the normal freezing point. If it is not add more salt. Two hours in a bath of about 22°F should work.
You can make a instant slushy or even us supplies around the house to build a snowman.
For this project use the same technique for freezing from the activity above. Only this time you will not open the water bottle. Carefully hold the water bottle in your hand and smack it down on a hard surface like the floor, counter or table. Sit back and watch it freeze instantly before your eyes!
This trick is simple and fun. It’s the easiest and least time consuming of the three projects.
- Challenge your child to pick up ice using only the string. This will seem nearly impossible to accomplish.
- Share with them that with the help of a little science, they can create a chemical reaction to achieve their goal of picking up the ice with a single piece of string!
- I placed the cup on a plate and set out all the supplies needed out on the table (water, ice, string and salt)
- Instruct your child to pour water to the top of the glass and place an ice cub on top. The ice will float on the top.
- Next, place the string over top of the ice horizontally so it lays flat on the ice with as much coverage as possible.
- Than have them sprinkle a little salt on top. A few pinches is just enough.
- Next put on the timer for one minute.
- Finally, they can slowly lift the string and magically pull their ice cube from the water.
I would love to hear from you and if you mastered or enjoyed any of these fun instant ice projects.
***All content and photographs in this article are intellectual property of The Playful Parent.***