Arctic Ice Activities and Experiments

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

It is SUPER cold outside which means it's the perfect time to explore ice!  Click HERE to read a post about my go to  Winter Centers and Activities (math, literacy, fine motor, sensory, and more).

ICE!  Each day I put blocks of ice, cups of blue water, small droppers, and tweezers in the sensory table.  Each morning students came is asking to explore the ice!  They LOVED it!

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Students squirted the ice both up close and from far away.  Two friends discovered that if they squirt the ice up close it would make a hole.  They were running around the classroom telling everyone what they discovered.  It was so exciting!  They LOVED hitting, tapping, and squeezing the ice with the tweezers to make the holes bigger and bigger!  

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

The week before I set up an Ice Rescue in the sensory table. I froze arctic animals in bowls of water. Students had to try to set the animals free using tweezers, water, and pipettes.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

PAINTED ice experiment! I mixed pastel paints for students to paint ice cubes with.  Luckily we have an big ice maker so I didn't have to make all this ice by hand.  Here is how the ice looked when we began. By painting the ice, they could easily see the ice melting, dripping, and mixing.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Two students took the experiment further by painting the same ice cubes. One student questioned, "I wonder what would happen if we both painted the ice cube?"

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Then the ice really started to melt!  It was a fun activity for students to observe change.  They noticed how the paint got lighter as the ice melted, commented on how the colors mixed together to make new colors, and how the paint made the ice melt faster.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

This is the ice about an hour after we started.  I know you are thinking...did my preschool students spend an hour painting ice?  Well No.  Students took turns painting the ice.  Students could paint the ice for as little or as long as they wanted to.  It was an engaging experiment for the kids (and the teachers)!  

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.


We also had a tray of ice we painted with warm colors. Students compared the two trays of ice throughout the experiment.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Building Arctic Habitats!  I wanted to set up a place in my block center that invited students to build arctic habitats.  On the shelf is a variety of arctic animals, snow (white felt), water (blue textured foam paper), ice (jewels), and non-fiction books for students to use as a reference.  You can also cover blocks with foil to make it look like ice. Look at all of the object substitution students are able to do with these materials!

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

 Don't you LOVE this arctic habitat a group of girls made!  They worked together with persistence for over 50 minutes on it!  I was so impressed.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Dramatic Play Skating Rink!  This month we have changed our dramatic play center into an Ice Rink. It is easy to integrate learning experiences into their play. Students measure the skates for the skaters and count the money when skaters pay for food and skates.  Students are building fine motor when they scoop the popcorn into bags and use tweezers to put the ice cubes into the cups. Students have to wait, take turns, use social conventions, and communicate with each other during their play.  The amount of social skills and language that occurs during pretend play is HUGE! Pretend play is so IMPORTANT! The ice skating rink is great for building gross motor muscles too!  Students have to "skate" on laminated paper ice skates.  It is harder than you think.  I have also used paper plates for ice skates. You can read more about our Ice Rink HERE.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Painting with Frozen Paint!  I put paint into ice cube trays, added popsicle sticks, and put it in the freezer overnight.

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

I set the frozen paint out to thaw for about 10 minutes and we were ready to paint.  The only directions I gave were to pretend to skate the frozen paint around on the paper like the were ice skating.  The paint melted as they moved it around on their paper!

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Want to try the activities in your classroom? Pin this image so you have it when you need it!

Arctic ice themed experiments and activities for preschool, pre-k, and kindergarten. Perfect for a winter, penguin, or polar bear theme.

Need more winter themed activities? Check out my Winter Theme Pinterest board for more inspiration.


5 comments

  1. Great ideas! I love making an artic sensory tub but never thought to put the blue water in there. I'll definitely had that this week!

    Learning at the Teacher Table

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    1. Next week I am going to freeze beads and sequins in the water and add a small cup of salt for them to use! I can't wait. Have fun and stay warm!

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  2. Using ice to teach students is just a great idea!! I am also a full day teacher in a Phoenix kindergarten and I use such ideas to teach the little kids. But I haven’t tried Ice to teach them. Thanks for this unique idea dear!!

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  3. These are wonderful ideas. I too am doing this study starting Monday. I will also be making Blubber Mitts for our Kiddos to explore their hands keeping warm and dry as do the animals in the Arctic when submerged in ice cold water. Hoping for little minds to whirl.

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  4. I really love your artic sensory table idea and your artic block centre these look so cool i am going to incorprate them into my KG program right away thanks for the ideas

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