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- Collect your food coloring/watercolors and some containers in which you can freeze water. If you have shaped ice molds, they produce rather eye-catching results. But, you can use regular old ice trays, muffin tins or even recycled containers just as well to freeze gems.
- Put a few drops of color into each container, and then pour in the water. If you want even color, mix water and color first, and be generous with color. Adding a wee bit of salt or dish soap to the mix can help keep color even, too.
- Freeze for about 24 hours.
- Take them out of the freezer (or bring them indoors from the freezing cold) and give them a minute to warm up, then pop them out into a bowl.
- To add a little extra intrigue, hide the treasures and “stumble” upon them.
- Explore gems using all of your senses (avoid taste if you used the dish soap trick!) Beware the lasting impact of food coloring, too!
- Talk about what you see, feel and hear as you play.
- If it’s frigid out, put on mittens and use sticks or spoons to move gems around.
- Arrange your gems to create beautiful designs.
- Keep busy transporting, hiding and even building with gems.
- If you have snow or sand around, place the gems just so to create sparkling masterpieces or to transform a snow fort or sand structure into a winter castle.
Why is this activity great for kids?
- Ice gems feel, look and even sound intriguing and they stimulate multiple senses at the same time, which is great for the brain!
- Our imaginations respond to the unusual beauty of ice gems and that opens up a world of pretend play possibilities.
- Taking what could be a challenging part of winter (cold!) and making it the focus of joyful play is a super lesson in persistence!
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- Two class formats: try a free In-Person session (where and when available) or try Tinkergarten Anywhere, our on-demand product available anytime.
- In either format, a certified Tinkergarten Leader will teach a Tinkergarten lesson and inspire your kids to play.
- Sample the additional activities and resources families get each week to keep kids learning outside at home.
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