I don’t know about where you are, but in my area it is sooooo cold! Cold enough for people to be doing those experiments you hear about every winter like throwing boiling water outdoors and it turning into snow.
It’s also a dreary time. Everything seems grayish white unless there is fresh snow in the air or it is bright and sunny, but too cold to go outside. Today is, thankfully, one of the sunny days, however, it is below zero!
It seems like the perfect day to share a fun, easy little activity we do when it gets this cold. Ice ornaments! (Adult supervision is a good idea!)
First, get out some tins, cupcake tins, empty yogurt containers, anything you’d like to use as a mold for your ornaments. (Any size will do as long as it isn’t too big to fit flat in your freezer and hang by a string/rope from something!) Outside one house a couple of years ago I saw large ice wreaths with cranberries inside, made from an angel cake mold. It was beautifully big!
Also have string, yarn, unbent paperclips, or anything else you’d like to use as hangers for your ornament ready to go. We used unbent paperclips as they seemed easiest to hang over a tree branch because you could adjust the hook. If you’d rather set your frozen ornament on a railing you can skip this! (Think ball cake molds!)
Next, gather some items you might like to place inside the ice, like pine cones, an unbreakable ornament, birdseed, cranberries, if you’d like. Remember, if you aren’t using food for the animals you’ll have to bring it in later. Alternatively you can make your ice ornaments simply with colored water using food coloring.
Fill up your containers with water and add food coloring to create your desired color. (Fine motor, science – colors) We made ours vibrant, or so we thought. Next time we’ll add more coloring and we’ll make a lot more or make bigger ornaments!
Add your contents, if any, remembering to add a hanger. It is best to set some of whatever you are using for a hanger actually in the water before freezing your ice ornament, otherwise trying to attach it later might not work!
Once your ornament is ready to freeze, set it outside on a flat surface (if it is cold enough) or in the freezer to freeze! (science – you can predict how long it will take to freeze if you’d like to make this into an experiment!)
This winter activity leads to great science-based conversations very easily – water turning into ice, predicting how long it will take something to freeze, combinations of colors, what animals eat…and so many others!
When everything is frozen remove from the mold and hang outside on a tree or clothesline, anything that needs some color and enjoy! You may need to place the mold into hot water to loosen it a bit, but make sure not to leave it in too long to make it melt!
Original idea posted in 2011, but enjoyed every year since (the pic above is from the first year we made thees)! This idea has also grown in popularity since I discovered it on a neighbors bird feeder, so you will find it multiple places around the Internet, especially on Pinterest! I’m sure others have great ideas of how to alter these ice ornaments to add even more beauty to an otherwise white landscape!