Popsicle Painting

It turned hot and muggy in my region today, and I was thinking about ways to get the kids cooled off. I remembered a project I did a few weeks ago with another group and I thought I'd share it with you now.

I call this "Popsicle Painting," although depending on the materials you use it may be wise to name it something else so the kids don't try to eat it. All you need to do is fill up an ice cube tray with water and color each cube with food coloring or liquid watercolor. You could probably also use powdered tempera. Put a popsicle stick in each one - they don't have to be upright - and freeze. (If you really want the sticks straight, cover the tray with plastic wrap, cut slits over each compartment, and put the sticks in so the wrap holds them vertical.)

Take your kids outside and let them paint with the frozen paint cubes. For a short activity, do it in the sunlight. To extend it, do it in the shade.

You can use a regular ice cube tray, a popsicle-making mold, or even just disposable cups. I actually have a special "Ice Tube" tray that is perfect for this project. It's meant for making ice that can be slipped through the narrow neck of a water bottle. It makes ice that is thin and cylindrical, about the size of jumbo crayons, and it freezes up really fast. You don't necessarily need the sticks if you use this type of tray, an omission which may reduce the kids' temptation to take a taste.


• You could certainly make these edible if you wanted. Mix up a batch of a light-colored drink, like lemonade-flavored Kool-aid or apple juice. Pour it into the tray and color with food coloring. Insert sticks and soon you'll have a fun summer treat.
• Try placing paper on metal cookie sheets. Put a few pieces of colored ice on the paper and tilt the cookie sheet to slide it around. As it melts it will leave trails of paint behind.
• If you don't have time to make special ice, just let the kids paint as usual with brushes, and then run plain ice cubes over their papers to make designs.

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