Exploring Colour Theory With Ice Cubes

Exploring Colour Theory With Ice Cubes | Mama Papa BubbaYou know what I love?  I love fun little activities and explorations that both Miss G and Sam can enjoy despite their 5.5 year age difference. I also really, really love colour theory and how magical it is in the eyes of little ones, so this super simple exploring colour theory with ice cubes activity was a total win in my eyes.  For Sam, it was colourful and cold and full of noise and movement {a true delight for the senses!} and for Miss G, it was cool and chilled out and a perfect reinforcer for what she already knows and understands about primary and secondary colours.  I did the activity just a little bit differently with each of the bubbas, and I’ve got to say that both methods worked perfectly well {though one was definitely more baby safe in my opinion}.  

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First off, here’s what I started with…  An ice cube tray and my very favourite liquid watercolours by Sax {US | CAN}.

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I love these because of their vibrance and versatility {they’re basically like a really pigmented, washable food colouring}, but if you didn’t have them, liquid colouring {US | CAN}, gel colouring {US | CAN}, or even tempera paints {US | CAN} would work too.

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Just put a little bit of colouring into the sections of your ice cube tray and then top them up with water.  You’ll want the colours to be nice and rich but not too dark {otherwise they’ll just look like black}, so aim for somewhere in between if possible and then pop them into the freezer.

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When they’re frozen through, you’re good to start your colour exploration.

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To get us started, I popped Sam’s ice cubes into clear juice containers and screwed the lids on tight…  I would have really loved to use our clear plastic Voss bottles {US | CAN} for this, but between our season sensory bottles and our shake and search I spy bottles, ours are all in use at the moment.

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Here’s a close up look at his three bottles…  The first one has red and yellow ice cubes, the second one has red and blue ones, and the last one has yellow and blue.

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After double checking that the lids were screwed on tight, I set the bottles out for him to explore and he got to shaking them straight away.

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And while my intent certainly wasn’t to teach him about colour theory, it was pretty cool that you could see the colours mixing right from the get go.

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The only thing I didn’t prepare myself for was how badly he’d want the ice cubes inside!  {Oops – should have maybe guessed that.}

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Thankfully we were able to get past it and turned to focusing his attention on standing the bottles upright {and giving himself a proud clap each time he did} instead.

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Then it was onto rolling and shaking once again, with some vocals added in for good measure this time.

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Overall, a success I’d say!

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Later on, it was Miss G’s turn.  For her experiment, I gave her what was left of the coloured ice cubes plus three snack-sized zip-close bags {which I think would be a great option for doing this activity in classrooms}.

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She had already seen the remnants of Sam’s experiment as she walked into the playroom, so she was pretty confident that she knew what to do.

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Here’s what she prepared…  And not only did she explain that these were primary colours that you could use to make secondary colours, but she also told me exactly which colour would be created in each bag.

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I helped her seal them up tightly and then it was straight to playing with the bags, swishing the ice cube around inside, and shaking them up.

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Almost immediately we were able to see the primary colours coming together to make new ones!

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And as we played with the ice cube baggies, those colours became even more apparent.

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Aren’t they beautiful?!

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Miss G’s predictions were right!

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Afterwards she got out her little colour wheel just to confirm everything and that was that – yellow and blue make green, red and yellow make orange, and red and blue make purple.  So cool, even when you’ve mixed colours a hundred times before.

Exploring Colour Theory With Ice Cubes two ways | Mama Papa Bubba

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6 thoughts on “Exploring Colour Theory With Ice Cubes

  1. Miss G is looking so grown up! Fun multi age activity great for my toddler nephew and class of kindergarten students :)

  2. This is very inspiring! I am thinking of surprising my 6 year old his very first bike so he can play outside and make discoveries on his own. Confused about kids bike sizes at the moment.

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