Grab the ice cube trays: spider ice is a must try activity. Prep this easy Halloween activity the night before and give your little one some science fun. This simple activity may look small…but it packs a powerful learning punch.
RELATED: Looking for more Halloween activities for kids? Check out this list.
What is “spider ice?”
One night, I tossed a bunch of plastic spiders into an ice cube tray and filled it up with colored water. The little spiders bobbed up and down in the tray, I shut the freezer drawer, and walked away.
I completely forgot about my little spider ice cubes.
Three weeks later, I remembered them and thank goodness: they saved my Monday.
How these ice cubes saved my Monday
My 4-year-old was having a case of the Mondays. Things just weren’t going well for him and there was nothing I could do – except for try an activity.
Kids activities have always been a tool I use when I need help. Whether it’s a rough morning for me, a hard start, or a child who needs help finding their play: activities are a reset button.
Suddenly, a light bulb went off and I remembered the spider ice cubes I’d made three weeks earlier. HALLELUJAH.
RELATED: Looking for new Halloween books for children? Check these out!
The supply list
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- Plastic spiders: This is one of my favorite supplies/decorations for Halloween. We use these on repeat.
- Ice cube trays: Even if you have an ice cube maker, you want a set of these
- Food coloring (optional but awesome)
- Scoops or tongs
- Small turkey basters: absolutely love this little set for kids
RELATED: Need another great spider activity? This one is so fun!
How to set up spider ice:
- Set plastic spiders in the ice cube tray.
- Mix up colored water (just a few squirts of food coloring is plenty).
- Pour water into the ice cube trays.
I made orange and purple spider ice cubes – and they looked fabulously perfect for Halloween.
After they were frozen, I popped them into a storage container for my 4-year-old to explore.
How do you play with this Halloween activity?
In the storage container, I also put two bowls of warm water and kitchen tools.
My child’s mission: melt the ice. Rescue the frozen spiders.
And now this Halloween activity just took a science twist.
What are kids learning?
This activity goes way beyond “having fun with Halloween.”
In spider ice, kids are doing so much learning:
- Exploring with melting
- Understanding solids and liquids
- Exercising fine motor skills
- Working on cause and effect
- Sensory-based learning
It was (to quote my son): “EPIC!”
Eventually, my asked for salt to use in his melting process. I have no idea where he got the idea to try salt for melting, but he did and he insisted.
“I need salt! I need to try salt.”
He was 100% about adding the salt – because why not? Let him have a science moment. These are the moments in child-centered learning that we are desperately looking for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Food coloring is water soluble – and heavily diluted in this activity mixed with water. Food coloring will rinse of little hands (if any gets on) and come out of clothing easily (just set the clothing is cold water for a few hours).
Mostly. Remember that salt in high quantities is unsafe for young children and the plastic spiders are a potential choking hazard.
That depends on the child, their attention span, and their interest level in the activity. My son played for 45 minutes with this bin which is a long time for a four year old. Read more about attention span in early childhood here.