Ice Painting with Salt and Watercolor

This activity can be used as process art or can also function as a science lesson. Either way, your child will get to experience what happens when you add salt to the ice.

3 and up 

What you need:

  • Ice
  • Salt
  • Watercolor 
  • Paintbrush
  • Cookie cutter

How to:

  1. The day before make sure to put water in a container and place it in the freezer. For this particular activity, you want a piece of ice that has a good large flat surface. 
  2. Before taking out the block of ice, put salt in a small container to make it easier for your little one to sprinkle salt. take your cookie cutters out and set them up around your working area. Make sure to set up your watercolor as well.
  3. When you are ready, take out the ice black. 
  4. Place a cookie cutter on the block of ice and have your child sprinkle salt into the cookie cutter. Make sure the salt is spread evenly. You can do this multiple times in order to get more shapes. Make sure not to add too much salt. 
  5. Take the cookie cutter off and wait 30 seconds.
  6. Then have your child start painting the block of ice with watercolor. 
  7. Your child will start to see the shape appear in the color they have chosen. 


  • What is happening?
  • What is the difference in texture between salty + ice and ice?
  • Why do you think this is happening?
  • Is the salt melting the ice?

When you add salt to ice salt first dissolves and becomes salt water. Saltwater has a lower freezing point, therefore ice that is in contact with dissolved salt melts faster. 

This is a great STEM activity. Your child will learn how to follow directions step by step, setting up a simple working area for their experiment and seeing how salt reacts to ice.

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Published by Christelle

Former Montessori School Teacher and Child Life Specialist. Specialize in early childhood education.

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