Does your child enjoy pretending to fish? This activity is a fun way to combine “going fishing” with learning about the concepts of freezing and melting.
It all starts with a few ice cubes. When your child sprinkles salt on the ice, the top of the ice cube will melt. That's where the "fishing" comes in! Give your young fisherman a string to use as her fishing pole. When the pool of water at the top of the salted cube refreezes, the string freezes into the water and she can lift the ice cube with the pole.
What You Do:
- Have your child put the plastic fish in either an ice cube tray or small cup. Talk about the shape, color, or patterns on the fish.
- Fill the cup or tray up with water and place it in the freezer. If you live in an area where the outside temperatures can reach below freezing, you can also set it outside.
- When the water is frozen, remove the “fish cubes” from the cup or tray.
- Have your child put the “fish cubes” in a clear container of water. The cube will bob up and down in the water and then float on the top.
- Help your child place one end of the string from the "fishing pole" on top of a “fish cube” and sprinkle salt on the ice where the string is touching. Watch as the water melts slightly and refreezes.
- After about 10 seconds, help your child carefully lift the fish cube out of the water with the fishing pole. She caught a fish!
- When your child has finished catching fish, put the “fish cubes” in a warm spot or under warm water. Watch how the fish come free from the melting ice, once the air or water temperature warms the “fish cube.”
By using salt to melt ice, your child will learn why people sprinkle salt on icy sidewalks in the winter. But with this activity, you don't have to wait for winter to do some ice fishing-- it can happen any time of the year!