You Will Need:
* A receptacle for the water (I used a cake tin. you could use anything that's OK to put in the freezer - a yoghurt pot, ice-cube tray, dog bowl - whatever)
* A freezer or below freezing conditions outside
*Interesting stuff to freeze into your water. We used sequins, glitter and beads but the possibilities are endless - buttons, little toys, autumn leaves, wild flowers - anything. Although not, say, the hamster. Just saying.
Get your child to pour some water into your container, then add whatever you've chosen to it. For some reason it makes it far more exciting if they're allowed to stir it up.
Let them suggest things to put in the water then talk about how you're going to put it in the freezer (or outside overnight if you're doing this in winter and it's below freezing). Ask questions: What do you think will happen to the mixture? Why? Just before we put ours in the freezer, I made a loop out of ribbon and put half of it in the water so it would freeze inside it and make a hanging loop.
When a suitable amount of time has passed - it only took a couple of hours for ours to freeze, but we left it overnight because I wanted to look at it in the morning. You could do this or put it in the freezer before you go out for a few hours and take it out when you come back home - take it out of the freezer and let your child explore what has happened - encourage them to touch the ice and talk about it. Ask why has it turned into ice? What will happen next? There is so much learning potential in this activity.
It will soon melt enough to be taken out of the container, and what you have then is a beautiful, magical looking ice decoration.
On a freezing cold day, these will last until the temperature starts to rise above freezing, at which point they will melt slowly. I'm already imagining Rory and I making a snowman in the back garden with lots of these twinkling in the trees on a snow day.
A great thing about this activity is that if you put something under the melting decoration to catch the sequins etc you can use them again, plus when your toddler has a screaming meltdown when it has melted and disappeared you can make another one but add different things to it or coloured water or make it different in some other way. Ooooh - you could do little cut out paper snowflakes suspended in ice - two activities in one!
On that note, it really is time for me to leave this post as I'm showing my true colours (those of a secret early years education geek), and I feel the need to do something slummy to make up for it. Time for a Pot Noodle.