Creating colorful ice hearts is the perfect creative Valentines science activity to do with kids of all ages. This vibrant Valentine’s Day STEM project works great whether you are planning a class party or just looking for an easy and fun activity to do at home!
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In addition to being a creative art project, painting ice hearts is also a fabulous way to learn the science of what happens when salt mixes with ice. We like to say that this is a STEAM activity because we are adding Art to STEM! (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.)
Valentines Science Art
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Making icy heart paintings is easy to do. We began by gathering our materials:
- Heart shaped ice (We used this silicone heart mold to make large cupcake-sized ice hearts.)
- Table salt
- Liquid Watercolors
Once we had all of our supplies we placed the ice hearts on plates to catch the water and paint. The kids sprinkled salt over the ice and then we waited for a few minutes. We watched how the individual grains of salt melted tunnels into the ice.
When we had some good ice tunnels, we painted the ice using liquid watercolors. It was amazing to watch how the colors fell into the caves created by the salt. Our ice hearts were so pretty!
I love this Valentines science art activity for so many reasons. It costs almost nothing. It allows the kids to be creative and to create bright and colorful art. The setup and cleanup is a breeze. And it’s educational, too!
The Science Behind the Art
When salt is added to ice it lowers the freezing point of the ice. This simply means the ice melts. When you have a solid block of ice and sprinkle salt on it you can actually see the tiny tunnels the salt makes as it melts the ice! If you sprinkle enough salt it will leave bigger gaps and holes.
It’s really cool!!
As you paint over the top of your now-textured-ice-surface the watercolors illuminate the salt tunnels even more.
We have learned in several different ways now how salt melts ice. First we did our fishing for ice experiment. Then we made ice cream and fruity slushy drink using the super cooling power of a salty icy mixture. Now we know why people sprinkle salt over their icy steps in the winter!
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