This has to be one of the kids most favourite ever things to do. I like to take my time and set it up over a few days. I add about a inch of water each day and a few dinosaurs and a different colour of food colouring. One day I'm going to be super flash and chill the water right down to almost freezing so the colours don't mix at all. I also read that if you make ice with boiling water you get ice that is really clear with none of the bubbling of regular ice- I want to try that as well.
Usually we use hammers to smash the ice and get the dinosaurs out but this time I showed Will how to use salt and some warm water to see the effect the salt had - (it makes the ice melt faster).
I also added some of the crystal soil balls to the ice to see what would happen when you freeze them. I think the freezing process does something to their molecular structure because they totally disintegrate when defrosted! It makes for a cool decoration on the lawn though. Especially a week later when you've forgotten they are there and it rains and they get all expanded again.
When the ice block got down to small multiple pieces we but them in a bowl of water and Tama had a great time messing around in there while Will took the blocks with dinosaurs still entombed and tried to smash them out on the pavers.
How cool do those ice layers look!!??
I love this activity for so many reasons. It's totally free to set up, you can do it over and over again. It is interesting and heaps of fun. It keeps them engaged and entranced for a long time. It doesn't have any age limitations. It has built in science concepts. And he kids LOVE doing it. Oh and did I mention- it's totally fun!