Water and Ice Investigations


Water and Ice Investigations – A series of three activities


Rainbow in a Jar

  • 3 glass jars (wide mouth quart jars preferred)
  • Food coloring (1 or 2 colors)
  • Cold tap water
  • Hot water
  • Crushed ice 
  • An adult to help

Colored Ice Cubes

  • Food coloring (3 colors)
  • Ice cube trays
  • Tongs
  • Water
  • A plastic tub, dish pan or other similar container
  • Paper and crayons (optional)
  • An adult to help

Fill, Pour and Play

  • Fill, Pour and PlayKitchen sink
  • Water
  • Various containers (plastic yogurt cups, measuring cups, ladles, etc)
  • Funnel (optional)
  • A towel
  • An adult to play with you

What to do: Rainbow in a Jar

  1.  Ask an adult to help you fill one jar with cold tap water, one jar with hot water, and one jar with crushed ice.  Tip:  Water heated on the stove or in an electric kettle til almost boiling works best.  Just be careful not to touch the jar after the hot water is poured in!
  2. Carefully add a drop of food coloring (you can use two separate colors if you want) into the jar of cold tap water and hot water.
  3. Watch carefully.  What is happening in each jar?  Does the color move in the same way in each?  Is one moving faster than the other? Does the color reach the bottom of the jars at the same time?  What else do you notice?
  4. What do you think will happen when you add food coloring to the jar of crushed ice?  Will it be more like the jar of cold water or hot water? Why?
  5. Test it out!  What happened?

What to do: Colored Ice Cubes

  1. Ask an adult to help you put two drops of food coloring in a cell of an ice cube tray.  Repeat with other colors. You really only need two or three ice cubes of each color.
  2. Put your ice cube tray in the freezer and wait to continue until your ice cubes are frozen
  3. Pour some water into your dish tub or other large flat glass or plastic container
  4. Using tongs, carefully place your colored ice cubes into your tub of water.  Make sure to place them slowly, without dropping or splashing. Try not to jiggle your tub or the table!
  5. Look carefully and watch what happens.  What do you notice? What is happening to the ice cubes?  What patterns do you notice in the colors? What changes over time?
  6. Use your paper and crayons to record what you see.  Try to use accurate colors.
  7. Help your adult wash out the ice cube tray to get rid of any leftover food coloring!

What to do: Fill, Pour and Play

  1. Ask an adult to help you collect your containers and partially fill the kitchen sink with water.  Alternatively, you can do this activity outside using a large plastic dish pan or other large container
  2. Use your different containers to pour water from one into another.  Does each container hold the same amount of water?
  3. How slowly and carefully can you pour the water?
  4. What happens if you use a funnel?  Does it make it easier or harder to fill a container?
  5. Are some containers easier to pour from than others? Why might that be?
  6. Can you pour from two containers at once, one in each hand?
  7. What other fun things can you do with pouring, dumping, and filling?

Contact education@vinsweb.org with questions or comments.