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PreK Art & Science: Ice Painting

Ice Painting via Wadleigh Memorial Library


Schwake, Susan. “Ice Drawings.” Art Lab for Little Kids. 2013. p 36.

“Primary Colors.” Ok Go for Sesame Street. 2012. http://youtu.be/yu44JRTIxSQ – 1:30 music video reinforcing primary colors as the basis of all color.


White Cover Stock

Food Coloring

Craft Sticks

Prepared Ice Cubes (See “Preparation”)

Egg Carton


    1 week to 1 day before:

Fill an ice cube tray with water, dropping 5 or 6 drops of food coloring into each section based on the colors you want. Put the tray in the freezer. When half frozen, put craft sticks into each section to serve as handles. Leave some cubes without handles to be used directly with the hands

    Day of:

Cover tables and area around tables with plastic table clothes or newspaper. Food coloring stains!

Transfer color cubes into egg cartons for easier access.

Set out card stock at each station, making sure each station has easy access to an egg carton full of color cubes.


Talk to students about color mixing. Some will have mixed colors last week in the Little Blue and Little Yellow day. Ask them what happens when you mix blue and yellow. When they realize it makes green, ask about other colors. What happens when you mix blue and red? Yellow and red? Let them experiment with drawing a picture with the ice cubes, which will act like solid watercolors. Some may stick with the primary colors you’ve created, others may start by mixing. Explain that layering the colors mixes them, creating new colors, and encourage them to try this method. Encourage creativity and experimentation. For instance, does a green line look different if you go back over it a second time? What if you go over it with blue? Some students may begin to grasp the idea of primary and secondary colors.


What is a primary color?

What happens when you mix primary colors?

What happens when you add two lines of the same color?


This activity is focused on experimentation and experience. Children will create an artifact (their ice paintings) while discovering how colors interact with each other. While not all children will understand primary and secondary colors or the color wheel, this will form a concrete activity to begin thinking about this rather abstract concept.

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