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Coloured Salt on Ice

Experimenting with Salt and Ice

Walt Disney said "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and trying new things, because we are curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” Exploring concepts in a hands-on way that sparks curiosity and a desire to learn and know more has great benefits for a child's learning.


As they engage in hands-on learning, they learn the skills of observation, which helps them predict and categorise, as well as transfer knowledge and make connections to concepts and ideas they already know.


By engaging with and manipulating objects, such as the provisions of this experiment, children can observe and learn the effects of change, furthering their understanding of cause and effect.

You will need:

  • Containers/bowls to freeze water in in to create ice

  • Food colouring

  • Cooking salt

  • Zip-lock bags

  • A container for the coloured salt (I used a muffin tray)

  • Deep baking tray

  • Spoon

What to do:

Step 1

Fill containers/bowls with water and freeze overnight

Step 2

Take some salt and place it in a zip-lock bag.

Step 3

Choose a colour to add to your salt. Drop several drops of colouring into the salt. The more you add, the darker the colour will be and the more vibrant the effects on the ice.

Step 4

Close the bag, making sure to let out most of the air, before Gently massaging the colouring into the salt.

Step 5

Pour coloured salt into one section of your muffin tray

Step 6

Repeat Steps 2-5 until you have the number of colours you wish

Step 7

Remove ice from container, loosening it under warm running water and place in deep baking tray

Step 8

Remind children of the Story of Betty the Yeti, and how she was bored with the lack of colour in her world. Explain to the children that they will be adding colour to the ice in a way that Betty might appreciate.


Step 9

Demonstrate to the children how to add small amounts of salt using the spoon to the ice. Ask them to observe what happens as the coloured salt hits the ice. How is the ice changed? Can you hear anything as it changes?

Step 10

Encourage the children to experiment with the ice and salt on their own or in small groups.

Step 11

When the ice has almost melted, take it out into the sunlight to see what it looks like under the sun. Ask the children to describe what they see


Tip- for larger groups of children, perhaps use bigger containers to create ice and wash off colour and salt in between each child OR perhaps have children working in groups on a large slab of ice.

You could print off the pictures to show the children and use this as a pictorial procedure for the children to follow.

*I wanted to add some more colour so I used the Yellow Food colouring straight from the bottle as the colour was more intense.

Questions to ask:

  • "What can you see happening?"

  • "Why do you think that is happening?"

  • "What do you think would happen if....?"