Family Fun #7 Icy Adventures

What is summer without popsicles and other icy treats? This week’s family fun activities center around popsicles and ice cubes—just the thing for hot August days.

1. There are lots of ways to paint with ice. You can buy Popsicles and different flavored Kool-aid powder.  Sprinkle the powder on paper and then use the popsicles as paintbrushes.  Or make your own paint-sicles, edible or non-edible. Edible paint-sicles can be made from water and Koolaid powder, preferably different flavors so you can watch the colors mix. Non-edible paint-sicles can be made by mixing poster paint and water, then freezing it. The colors are deeper than Kool-aid, but don’t mix those up with the ones you want to eat!

2. Have an ice-melting race-in-reverse. This works as an individual activity or a team competition, take your pick. Collect possible insulating materials—paper towels, foil, leaves, whatever you have. Use the insulating materials to wrap ice cubes, then put them in the sun and wait. The cube to last the longest is the winner.

3. Make a better pop. What flavor ice pop would you like the best? Mix fruits, juices, and anything else that sounds delicious to create the Popsicle of your dreams. You could even have a freeze-off competition, with judges to determine the premium pop. Another variation of this activity is to freeze pops made of different juices and fruits and see which freezes faster. Would a pure juice pop freeze faster than one mixed with mashed banana? Try it and see.

4. Pick up an ice cube with a string. This is a classic experiment you can easily see online, but the basic process involves putting salt on an ice cube, and then laying a string across the top. If you wait 30-60 seconds, the ice melts and refreezes so that the string sticks to the cube and you can lift it. But that is just the beginning. Experiment with different kinds of strings and/or different size pieces of ice. Can you pick up more than one cube at once? Could you pick up a larger block of ice? What kind of string picks up the heaviest block of ice? You might want to have several size cubes (regular, paper cup size, bottom of a milk carton size) frozen before beginning.

5. Of course Popsicles would not be Popsicles without the sticks. You can eat a lot of Popsicles, or head to your local craft store to buy a pack of craft sticks. Feeling brave? How about making a Popsicle stick catapult? Or how about this Popsicle Stick “bomb”? It looks like (OK, pun alert), a blast. You can learn to make one at indestructibles.These actually look wider than Popsicle sticks to me, but still fun.

Or if flying sticks are not your thing, try Martha Stewart’s stick creations. If they are good enough for Martha, why not us? Have some sweet cool adventures this week!

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