Yesterday was a tough day, and hot. But there was a bright spot. A cool spot? The little boys and I made ice cube necklaces.
I got the idea from More Mudpies to Magnets: Science for Young Children. This is a book I have thought about buying for years. This year I have a bunch (as in 3) experimentally oriented young children, so I bought the book.
Ice cube necklaces are super simple. All you need are a couple of ice cube trays, yarn or string, and a collection of smallish objects that will fit in each cube. I took the boys on a walk around the yard and garden, and they collected flowers, leaves, sticks, rocks, and a small piece of sidewalk chalk. I held the ice cube trays, and the boys just put their objects in wherever they wanted. We insured that one row did not hold rocks or other small chokable objects so that Chipmunk could have a necklace, too, and the boys were warned repeatedly that they weren't to eat these ice cubes since we weren't using food to make them. (Actually we did use some edibles -- dandelion leaves, rose petals, lemon balm -- but exceptions are too complicated.)
After you fill the trays with objects and water, lay strands of yarn or string across each row of cubes, making sure that the yarn dips down into the water in each cube. Here's what our trays looked like when I put them in the freezer:
As you can see the most difficult part was ensuring that the yarn stay in the water. It kept bobbing up and needed a little re-arranging.
The twins were not sure what would happen. Farmerboy knew the cubes would freeze, but he didn't know how long it would take, so he kept checking until the big kids went outside to play in the hose. It actually took about 4 hours for them to freeze.
The boys melted the ice in their hands, banged it on the deck to chip it into pieces, refroze parts of it, and tried to wear it... but it was too cold! We talked about solids and liquids and states of matter, and how you could freeze grapes into ice cubes and then you could actually eat your necklace. Later that night we read What Is the World Made Of? All About Solids, Liquids, and Gases (Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Stage 2) and looked through more experiment books.
Simple. Fun. Cold. A satisfying bit of summer science.