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Muddy Faces

Ice beads

Create strings of hanging ice decorations & explore the science of freezing & melting.

Art & Creating


This simple activity can lead to scientific discoveries and observations in both cold or warm weather.

In winter observe the freezing process outdoors, and melting when the time comes.

In spring or summer enjoy the cooling properties of the ice and see how long it lasts.

What you'll need

  • water
  • ice cube trays
  • string
  • Small natural objects - like berries, pebbles or shells
  • food colouring
  • small toys
  • alternatives:
    • lots of small pots

This activity has been provided by

Useful items from our shop

Item available from our shop

Environmental Considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

  • leave no trace - once your beads are melted dispose of the string & any small objects

Health & Safety Considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:

  • use gloves in cold weather to protect hands
Art & Creating

Step #1

Pour water in to your ice cube tray.

Art & Creating

Step #2

Lay the string in and out of each of the ice cube cups. This can be a bit tricky - if it keeps floating up you may need to weigh the string down or angle it to stay in.

You could achieve this same effect by placing a number of vessels closely together and draping the string from one to another.

Art & Creating

Step #3

Leave your trays outside to freeze, if it’s cold enough, or pop them in the freezer.

Art & Creating

Step #4

Push your ice cubes out - they should hang together in a string.

Art & Creating

Step #5

Make a loop at one end of your string, to hang in a tree or bush, or drape it like tinsel.

Take it further:

  • place natural materials in the water before freezing or pop in a small toy
  • try different sizes or different-shaped ice cube trays
  • instead of ice cube trays try placing a number of vessels closely together and draping the string from one to another. Experiment with different sizes and shapes
  • instead of ice cube trays make different shapes using clay, plasticine or similar mouldable material. Mould into any shape, ensuring it will hold the water, i.e. a star, then lay your string through the water, and freeze
  • try a few drops of food colouring in the water – what happens to the ice?
  • do this activity in summer, using a freezer, and see how fast your strings of ice melt.

Note: dressing in reindeer onesies is not compulsory 😉

Disclaimer: Muddy Faces cannot take any responsibility for accidents or damage that occurs as a result of following this activity.You are responsible for making sure the activity is conducted safely.

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