I got inspired this weekend by Regina of Mommy’s Making A Mess (lots of good ideas over there!). So our son and I whipped up some colored water and made our own ice blocks. I don’t have any food coloring, so we thought about what we could use instead. I had a beet in the fridge, so I peeled it (the beet went into our green smoothie) and we stuck the peels in a jug of water and swished them around for a while while the water turned a lovely shade of pink.
Then we hunted through the cupboard and decided to try spirulina and turmeric. The water with spirulina turned very dark green (almost black). But once the ice froze, we noticed that some of the spirulina had settled to the bottom and the ice chunks actually looked more blue than green.
The turmeric turned the water a nice shade of yellow, and while some of it did settle out as the blocks froze, the ice was still quite yellow in the morning. So are the insides of my muffin trays. I think they might have a permanent gold look to them now.
Here are the muffin trays after our son filled them up with colored water (plus a few with plain water for comparison).
We set them outside at about 7:30pm. It was 36 degrees, so we told him it would be a little bit before the temperature was cold enough to start freezing water, but that by the time he woke up in the morning, they would be nice and solid. His bedtime is 9, and in the hour and a half between setting them out and going to bed, he probably looked out the back door about six times, to check on his ice. It was taking way too long to freeze as far as he was concerned. Good thing it did most of its magic overnight while he was sleeping. Otherwise, the anticipation might have been too much for him.
When he woke up in the morning, he ran to the back door and called for us to come and look. He was so excited about his ice blocks.
He got them all into this pan and then said “I could just look at these all day, they’re so awesome!”
Anyway, this is an easy, free (or nearly free, depending on what you use as food coloring) activity that you can do with your kids. If you have food coloring in your pantry, you’ll probably get more vibrant colors than we did. But if you don’t, you can have fun thinking of ideas for coloring your water. If you live somewhere where the temperatures aren’t going below freezing at night, you could just stick these in the freezer over night (and I’m jealous too, by the way. Definitely ready for spring around here).