20 August 2011

Color Mixing for Little Hands - Ice Cubes

Kaia is especially interested right now in the ways colors interact with each other. She loves mixing them, and watching them transform. It is entirely amazing to her the way you can mix two bright colors and come up with another bright color, while at the same time mixing two other bright colors gives you a dull brown. Making some colored ice cubes seemed a mighty fine way to practice color mixing in the broiling heat we've been having!

I set out two ice cube trays, food coloring in the primary colors, (blue, red, and yellow,) her watering can to fill the trays, and a tooth pick to stir with. She carefully filled the trays.

We talked about how the primary colors can be mixed to make all colors. No really, any color at all. Think of a color. Yes, we can make that with these. She found this idea just as intriguing as I remember it being to me when I was little. For the first tray, I explained how to make each color in the rainbow while she added the appropriate drops of color to the cells of the tray. It doesn't take much, just a few drops. Red in the first, red and yellow in the second to make orange, yellow in the next, yellow and blue to make green after that, then blue, and finally blue and red for violet.

The first tray a brilliant rainbow of colors, we set it aside and got started on the second tray. For this tray she added whatever colors she fancied to see what they would make, experimenting with "new" combinations and repeating some of those that I had shown her on the first tray.

When all the cells were coloured to her satisfaction, she stirred each color with a tooth pick.

I put them in the freezer for a few hours until they were frozen solid, then we pulled them back out.

Kaia poked at the ice cubes disbelievingly, because turning water into ice is still such a monumentally incredible occurrence to a three year old. When she was convinced that they were now all ice, I dumped them onto the driveway for the girls to play with, inspect, and, in Katalin's case, occasionally taste.

The ice cubes positively glow in the sunlight, and they were both quite taken with them, irresistible gems of such magnificence.

Kaia used them to paint the pavement.

Having been in the kiddy pool when I brought the ice cubes out, Kaia wanted to return and bring the ice with her. They had been playing with them on the drive for a good 15 - 20 minutes, but they certainly disappeared fast in the warm water. They left beautiful trails of color, billowing and streaming in the water like smoke.

Kaia was delighted with the change in water color and wanted to add more. She expertly added red and yellow to one side to make orange, dancing in the water to mix it in...

...and blue and green to the other side for a nice aqua color, one of the "new" combinations she discovered on her second ice cube tray. She giggled at they way she could change the color of her feet from orange to blue by jumping from one side to the other, and soon ran off to pick some Queen Anne's Lace flowers to test this new discovery on. She was fascinated for quite a while dunking the flower under, and bringing it up, over and over again, watching it change.

Later that evening she was already asking to mix more colors, so I expect this is a genre we will be expanding on in the near future.

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