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The Mitten: Book Club Week 3

Andrea Sanchez

I am a little behind posting this week's activity but the truth is, the same thing that makes The Mitten a great book to read and share in the winter, makes it hard as ever to get decent photos during daytime hours. That would be the perpetual cloud cover in the Midwest pretty much from November until March. 

This week D and I did an ice melt experiment. When you think about experiments, you may think goggles and lab coats for older kids. But experiments with young children are all about observing changes and hands on engagement. My goals for this experiment were simple. I wanted to discuss the properties of ice (growing vocabulary! i.e, cold, hard, slippery, wet, etc), observe physical change in water (from water to ice, back to water) and discuss how additional components can assist in that change. Easy enough right? 

Some of you may be looking at that like, whoa. Sounds like a lot! It isn't. You're probably already doing a lot of with your kiddos right now. With young children it has a lot to do with simple discussion. You are giving them the information while they visually observe or interact with the materials. 

For this activity you will need:

  • milk/cream carton
  • tray to keep ice in (we just used a small casserole dish)
  • table salt
  • droppers
  • cups with small amounts of water
  • food coloring or watercolor paint to change the color of the water
These come in packs of 100 so you won't feel sad if someone chews on one!

These come in packs of 100 so you won't feel sad if someone chews on one!

I started by just rinsing out the half and half container until the water ran clear. I did this probably a week in advance when I had an empty container. And guess what? Ice keeps in the freezer FOREVER :)

On the day of the activity I ripped the carton open and put the block of ice in the casserole dish. Like I mentioned, we took some time holding and feeling the ice and discussing what would happen now that it was out of the box and out of the freezer.

Finally we used the salt shaker to shake some salt over the block to aid in the melting process. Once this was done D got an opportunity to use droppers to squeeze different colors of water over the ice (unfortunately by this point it was too dark to get good photos but we are doing it again later this weekend so if it works out, I'll update the post). The coolest part is how the salt makes little vertical tunnels in the ice and the colored water goes into these tunnels changing the look of the ice and making. 

We used only primary colors (red, yellow, blue) in our dropper water so we could see some color change as well. With older children I would probably spend more time talking about the color change in addition to the physical change the ice goes through. However, D is three and impatient and gets to a point where he wants to just DO IT ALREADY. 

We had a lot of fun doing this and I know D enjoyed it because he keeps asking when we can "water the ice" again!  If you want some other fun ice activities (especially those that will be frozen in their houses this weekend) look at this fun magnets in ice post on Little Bins for Little Hands. We don't have a magnet set but this is pretty much the same as what we use at school and pretty inexpensive. I'd be careful for those magnetic balls around kiddos younger than 3, though. 

If you do this activity I'd love to hear your thoughts. Comment here or share pics on Instagram using #KLbookclub or #knittinlittle. Stay warm! 

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