Wednesday, July 6, 2011

icy wall discovery tray

As most of you know, Morgan loves the zoo. Loves it. She has many favorites and they often change - back and forth. Sometimes it's the train and sometimes it's the peacocks. Or, the 'icy wall' in the polar bear exhibit.*

Several weeks ago when we got our first wave of hot, hot heat, I got an idea to try to replicate the icy wall at home. I put our largest cookie sheet in the freezer and used a large measuring cup to fill it with water.** After a few hours, we went outside to play at the water table and I took the frozen cookie sheet out with us. Morgan and Parker loved spreading their hands around on the ice, just like at the zoo. Morgan dug her fingers in as the ice melted, making holes and handprints. The ice melted quickly in the sun and soon we were breaking off chunks of ice and making glaciers for their Arctic Water Table (how appropriate!).

At the end of last week when it was getting hot and humid out, I thought we could make another icy wall tray, but this time I wanted them to put stuff in it. Morgan, Parker and I trekked outside for a little bit after breakfast to collect bits and pieces of nature - leaves, small stones, tree bark, flower petals, sticks and grass.
When we came back inside, Morgan arranged our finds on the cookie sheet (Parker had to sit this one out, since all he wanted to do was eat our finds) and then I put the tray in the freezer and added water.
After lunch, we filled the water table, put on our swimsuits, sprayed on our sunscreen and brought the frozen tray out to melt and explore.
The ice melted quickly and in no time, it looked like this :
I popped the ice out of the cookie sheet and Morgan and Parker started breaking it into chunks and digging out the sticks and flowers.  Some of the ice ended up in the water table and the rest was made into a pot of 'ice soup'. It was delicious! :)
I think we will be making many variations of this icy wall this summer!

*When you are exiting the building where you can see inside the water the seals and polar bears swim in, there is ice on the walls just before the doors. Morgan has called it the icy wall ever since her first trip there, and it stuck. So, I'm not sure what it's really called...

 **Don't do what I tried to do during my first attempt and fill the tray under the sink and carry it to the freezer. I have pretty steady hands, but that water was splishin' and splashin' around and I inevitably made a big mess. Then I got smart and put the empty tray in the freezer first, making sure it was level and had lots of support below it, and filled it up with water. Duh!

1 comment:

  1. What a cool idea. I'm sure the kids loved playing with the ice. Smart move filling the cookie sheet after it was in the freezer. Hope Parker wasn't too upset that he couldn't eat the "finds". tee hee