Icebergs in the Bathtub

Ice 001

If the cold of winter makes you dream of summer, this project is for you. We usually do this one in the summer, but indoor ice is fun year-round, so we pulled it out again tonight.

This may be the simplest project in the world. If you can make ice you can do this. All you need is:

• Water

• An ice tray – or muffin pan, or any mold

• Food coloring (optional)

• Small toys (optional)

Pour water into the ice tray, and add a single drop of food coloring to tint it. Add small, non-porous toys to the cubes if you feel like it, and freeze for a few hours.


Once they’re solid, put the frozen cubes into the bathtub with your child, or play with them outside or in a wading pool on a hot day. The drop of food coloring is enough to deeply tint the ice cubes, but it won’t stain your child, your tub, or even color the tub water very much.  But if you look closely, you’ll see the colors dissipate around the ice as it melts in warmer water, which is interesting to watch.  You can also hear the cubes make popping sounds as they melt and crack on the inside.  There’s a whole bunch of states-of-matter science going on here, and many related ice experiments, but it’s also just simple, wet fun – Amelia loves to “free” the frozen animal toys and then play with them in the tub.

A few options to try:

• You don’t have to use cubes. On a really hot day, or for longer-lasting ice, freeze a whole bowl of water into one big cube, with multiple treasures inside.

• You could fill a few glasses with water of different colors and let your child mix the colors as he or she fills the trays.

• We use flexible silicon molds as ice trays, because they are easy for Amelia to push the ice out.  Also, they come in lots of shapes.  You could also use sand toys, paper cups, really anything would work, as long as the mold holds water and has an opening wide enough to fit the ice back out.

Happy splashing!

Want more Mess?  visit Melanie’s blog, or drop by her Etsy store, Made by Mommy!