Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brrrr....icy fun: sink and float icecaps!

Children are naturally curious about the world we live in - and, right now, it's pretty chilly out there!  Here's a fun activity to do with your child that will let them explore some basic science theories!

First, find an empty plastic container, such as a margarine or cream cheese container. With your child, fill it about 2/3 full and find a spot in your freezer to freeze it solid. (If it's REALLY cold outside, you could also freeze it outside!) After it is hardened (even the next day!) run a little water over the outside and pop the frozen form out. You have successfully changed water - a liquid - into ice! This is your "polar icecap"!

You will need a larger container for the next part - maybe a dishtub or a large plastic storage container - and a small plastic animal, such as a penguin or polar bear (or any small figure, in a pinch!). You will want to fill the container with three or four inches of water. Your child will have fun trying to float the "icecap" in the water while trying to get the figure to stand up or stay on it. Keep a towel close by and keep warming up the fingers!

As you play, encourage your child to notice how the "icecap" is shrinking, and discuss what is occurring - a fun and interactive liquid-solid-liquid lesson, as well as sink or float!! Have fun!

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