Painting on Ice - Painted Ice Crystals

Painting on ice might be one of my favourite winter outdoor activities for kids. If you're looking for something to get those high-energy kids outside in the snow, they are going to love this! It's pretty simple to do and makes for a lot of play. Follow the step-by-step directions below to make your very own painted ice.

Painted ice crystals

Looking for more ice painting activities? You'll love this taste-safe ice painting and this rainbow ice activity. If you want more snow activities for kids check out the ideas below:

Painting on ice

This painted ice activity is great for toddlers and preschoolers but older kids will enjoy this too. It's perfect for cold winter months when everyone is needing to get outside! You could even try to break ice crystals into specific shapes and create a whole scene to engage in dramatic play later.

If you're looking for an excuse to get outside in the snow, this painting on ice activity is great for that.

Scroll down below to get started making your own painted ice!

Painted ice

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Painted Ice Activity

Painting on ice supplies

How to make painted ice crystals

STEP ONE: Gather your ice and prep your work area

Before you get started, make sure you have everything prepped and ready. While it's best to use ice crystals found outside your door, you can also make your own.

To make your own ice, fill a silicone baking tray with a thin layer of water and freeze it outside or in your freezer. I like to put it on a cookie sheet for easy transport too.

Look at the size of the pieces of ice you have and decide if you need to break them into smaller ice crystals or whether you want to work on a larger scale. 

For best results, do this activity when it's cold (it's really fun to do while it's snowing!) -- 0C/30F is a good temperature for this.

Once you have your ice crystals ready prep a work surface by spreading out and patting down a layer of snow to work as a "table". Alternatively use a low-level snow-covered wall. Set your ice out along with your paints.

Painting on ice activity for kids

STEP TWO: Paint the ice crystals

Now that you have everything prepped, invite the kids over to paint! Make sure they wear gloves/mittens that you don't mind getting paint on and can easily allow them to hold a brush. You can even have them wear dish gloves over them to prevent paint from getting on them.

Ice paint for painting on ice activity

Squeeze some of your watercolour paint directly onto the ice piece your child is working with. Since it freezes quickly, you'll want to do this as you go instead of all at once when starting.

painting on ice activity for kids

You can paint each piece of ice one block colour as we have or paint simple designs straight onto your ice. 

painted ice

Painted ice crystals

Try holding your painted ice up to the light to see all the beautiful colours.

Painting on ice

STEP THREE: Get creative with your painted ice

After the paint has frozen you can move the pieces of ice to create patterns or shapes. Pick up the ice crystals from the edges and carefully transfer them to where you want to set them up. 

Painting on ice crystals 
You'll want to arrange them in a shady area so they're not exposed to the sun and subjected to melting.

Painted ice heart activity for kids

Painted ice is great for playing with too. Toddlers and preschoolers can stack, build, or engage in other imaginative play using the painted ice to inspire them. They will love seeing what happens as the painted ice crystals begin to melt. 

Painted ice activity idea for kids

You can also paint on ice on a smaller scale like we did in our painting on ice activity for our book, Fun Painting Ideas for Kids.  

Painting on ice

To read more about our small-scale painting on ice and to discover 60 more fun painting ideas check out our book - Fun Painting Projects for Kids

painting ideas

Ice activities can be so much fun, especially when it's painting on ice! We hope you and your child have a blast playing with this painted ice activity.

Painted ice crystals. Painting on ice activity for kids.

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