When we started out with this experiment, it was just that – an experiment to see what happens to a block of ice when salt is added, the paints were there for fun and to highlight what the salt did.  As the activity went along it became something very different; we were trying to make an Ice Palace for Queen Elsa.  I also didn’t think it would hold her attention for particularly long, 20 minutes perhaps.  Again how wrong was I; an hour later we were still playing with this  All in all we started out with an experiment, made a palace fit for a Disney Queen, then decided to bring back summer and try and melt the whole thing.

You will need:

  • A big block of ice
  • Liquid watercolours or food colouring
  • Pipettes
  • Salt


  1. We filled up a medium Tupperware container and left it to freeze for a few days.
  2. When we were ready we mixed up 6 different colours in warm water (to help with the melting).  Then got two egg cups of different type of salt; we used rock salt and fine table salt.
  3. We sprinkled salt over the top and then squeezed our pipettes of water over the top.

It can take a while for ice to melt enough to see anything happen (hence the warmer water for the colours), but when it starts to really melt the results are pretty spectacular.  Unfortunately none of my pictures really do this activity justice.  We had great fun talking about why the water was melting and why the water was coming out of the cracks in the side to begin with and then we tried to decide what it looked like.  It went from being a mountain that we skied on, to Elsa’s Ice Palace with a special slide down the middle for Olaf.  I hope that you have as much fun with this as we did.

This can help development of:

  • Imagination – can pretend one object represents another, expecially when objects have    characteristics in common.
  • Exploring and using materials  – uses simple tools.
  • Scientific understanding – why ice melts.
  • Fine motor skills



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