Making art with frozen paint pops is one of our favourite things to do in summer here in my daycare. It’s such an easy and inexpensive art activity for home or the daycare/preschool classroom! You just freeze some coloured water over-night, and the next day, your kids will have a blast, drawing and creating in the sunshine with their coloured ice.
We’ve done all kinds of activities with coloured ice over the years, and our paint pops activity is one that we do every spring as soon as the weather starts to warm up. It’s one of my favourite ways to to kick off the spring and summer season here in my home daycare.
Kids love this activity because it’s bright and colourful, and it’s so fascinating to watch lines and scribbles appear as they draw and doodle, trailing their coloured ice across the paper.
Related Activities: Frozen Fractals Soup, Frozen Fractals Ice Sculptures, and Ice Age Bin
I love this activity because it’s so easy to prep and easy to and set up! All you need is water, food colouring (or liquid watercolours) and an ice cube tray or popsicle mould.
To make our frozen paint pops, you’ll need:
- popsicle mould
- food colouring or liquid watercolours
*if you’re using an ice cube tray, you’ll need to use toothpicks or craft sticks for the paint pop handles
To prepare your paint pops:
The night before you plan to do this activity, fill a popsicle mould or an ice cube tray with water, and add a couple of drops of colour to each section of the mould or tray.
Remember the more colour you add, the more vibrant and intense your ice paintings will be. Add at least 2 drops of colour to each section of your ice mould.
Pop ’em in the freezer overnight. If you’re using ice cube trays, add your craft stick handles after a half hour of freezing.
When you’re ready to use your ice paints, quickly run them under a cold tap, or set them in the sunshine for a brief minute. This will be enough to loosen your paint pops so they slide out easily.
Alrighty! Let’s have some fun!
We usually do this activity on our deck or in the driveway. If you’re worried about any accidental drips of food colouring staining your deck, just lay down a plastic tablecloth first.
Oooo! Look at those colours! The kids always get so excited when they see these paints, and of course, they’re quick to choose the colour that they want to start with.
For our canvases, we started with a large piece of white cardboard that the kids could gather around, and paint on together.
It’s really fun and rather mesmerizing to make marks with the paint pops, and to see the puddles of colour appear as they slowly melt.
Colour mixing happens naturally while the kids are painting with their ice. Colours will collide and pool together, creating new colours, and that always gives everyone something else to oooh and aaah about.
The children drew faces, and people, and made random doodles and designs all over the large piece of cardboard.
This would also be a fun way for kids to practice writing numbers or letters, or to practice printing their names.
When the hooligans had filled their large work surface as a group, I handed out pieces of watercolour paper so the kids could make their own individual paintings.
They had so much fun, and they painted many pieces of paper. It’s surprising how long our frozen paint pops lasted despite using them in the direct sunlight.
We left our paintings to dry in the sun, and then we used the ice-painted sheets of watercolour paper to make this homemade gift wrap for the children to wrap their Mother’s Day gifts in!
I hope you’ll try our coloured paint pop activity with your children or students. It really is a wonderful way to get creative outdoors on a warm spring morning!
Looking for more ways to keep the kids entertained this summer?
Here are 100 fun summer activities that kids can do at home. Print the checklist, and stick it on your fridge, and they’ll never be bored again!
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
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