Try this ice painting summer activity for some truly cool outdoor art fun. Using just washable paint and ice cubes, this combination of art, science, and sensory is an unexpected way to get kids creating.
What is ice painting?
Ice painting is different, fun, and an unexpectedly cool experience for kids. Pun totally intended.
And it takes about 3 minutes to set up.
Letting kids paint on ice cubes has many benefits for them – and it’s a fun way to cool off in the summer.
RELATED: Looking for more outdoor activities for the summer? I’ve got a whole list!
Why ice painting is the perfect summer activity
Remember – activities for kids no not need to be complicated.
Complicated does not = better (at least not with a kids activity). We can do so much for our kids and get them learning and playing with nothing more than ice and paint.
For me, I use this kind of activity anytime with jam the ice maker. Which happens often enough.
Here’s a list of other uses for ice cubes, in case you also jam your ice maker… al lot…
- Ice smash: Crushing ice cubes with hammers
- Ice table: Adding ice to the water table
- Ice box science: Playing with ice in a sensory bin
Ice is a fun gimmick in the summer – so why not try painting on it. Insert shocked emoji face. I know. I can just picture it too.
RELATED: Do your kids love to paint in the summer? Here’s a list of interesting and unique painting ideas for kids.
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It’s a complicated list so buckle up.
- Washable paint: this is my favorite kind
- Paint brushes: these all-nylon ones really are the best
Remember that activities should need a ton of supplies. Activities can still be magical even when they only have three supplies. Check out my list of supplies that I use on repeat.
What happens when kids paint ice
It’s probably not something your kids have done before.
The combination of mixing colors, painting ice, watching things freeze (yes the paint freezes a little, and melt makes this a “science-y art” activity.
There’s a lot going on here.
I open this activity up to free play and just let the kids go wild. They can paint and explore however they like… and they love it. They’re 3, 5, and 7 now but the first time we did this, the big kids were just 2 and 3.5. And even at that age, this was a big success.
We did that activity INSIDE in the winter and you can see painting ice cubes with toddlers here.
Here’s what happens when the ice melts
Don’t forget to extend this activity into a colored water pouring station once the ice cubes melt.
No sense in getting rid of the colored water just yet!
Add in some cups, scoops, pitchers, bowl, and spoons – turn this ice painting activity into a life skills pouring station.
A two for one activity – now that is cool.
Frequently Asked Questions
It’s ironic that washable paint doesn’t always feel super washable. If washable paint gets on your child’s clothing, try this: rinse it with warm water and apply hand soap. Rub the fabric against itself to activate the soap. Add a little more and soap, then let it sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat until the stain comes out before you ever toss it in the wash.
Whenever you are ready and feel like they’re enjoy the experience AND it won’t become an all you can eat, non-toxic paint buffet. My best advice, though: try. Don’t wait. Give it a go on a small scale. This is like a food exposure. Little by little, let them grow and learn how to use paint.
Remember to consider the child’s stage in life and their interests before age. Does your child enjoy art? Can they hold a brush? Can they safely play with washable paint? If yes, this activity might be something they’d be interested in. For my kids, this was typically around age 2.