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We have been participating in The Nurture Store’s #simpleplay photo prompt on Instagram (Check us out on Instagram while you’re there!). I love that it gives me, as a parent, a creative play prompt to provide for my boys. And following along with the other participants is just as fun!
One of the most recent prompts was playing with ice. All sorts of ideas came to mind, like our blueberry excavation we did waaaayy back when Cannon seemed like just a little tot, playing with colored ice in the water table, our Snowman Ice melt activity, or painting with ice cubes. That last idea got me thinking of different ways painting with ice could be done. Maybe adding food coloring to cubes and painting with it one paper…but I didn’t have time to make a whole set of ice cubes. I decided to just use the regular water ice cubes and “paint” with those in a unique way 🙂


  • Paper Towel
  • Ice cubes
  • Small bowl
  • Placemat

If you want to keep the art from bleeding onto your table, please be sure to use the placemat beneath the paper towel and double check that the markers are washable (just in case!).
I started by collecting the markers and paper towel. Our paper towels have flowers on them, which originally bummed me out because I wanted a blank canvas, but it ended up being useful as a picture to trace over. These Crayola True To Life Color markers are one of my fave coloring tools because they can give several color options in one pen (and they blend together nicely for this project), but any washable marker will do. 
Since my munchkin is still working on fine motor control, I decided to color the paper towel (coloring tends to frustrate him right now). There’s no special tip to coloring, but I would recommend using several colors together to make the painting part bleed together beautifully.
I set the ice cubes in a small bowl and let me son explore the invitation to create! 
This activity seemed to work best with ice cubes that are already starting to melt a bit. Super cold cubes won’t cause as much bleeding and possibly a bit of frustration. Luckily, it was a nice warm day and our ice was nice and watery in just a minute or so 🙂  

While dragging the ice along the paper was a nice way to practice pincer grasp and fine motor control in an interesting way, the ice does tend to make the fingertips chilly! Cannon’s solutions was to dump a few more cubes on the paper towel and then wrinkle them up and smush them around. We saw immediate results in the color bleeding and loved the way the art was turning out from that technique, so we kept at it!

The end effect came out looking very tie-dyeish without the tie-dye mess 😉 The simplicity of this unique “painting” project means I could take this out in a moment’s notice for a quick art activity. Wouldn’t it be fun to draw other pictures (a face, simple sunset, or even the ocean) and see how beautifully the colors mix?

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