Exploring and investigating ice is a fun, easy activity that promotes your child’s understanding of the world! There are lots of opportunities to add further challenges, add variations that will specifically interest your child.

ice play to understand the world
child investigating snow outside
ice eggs challenge with dinos

Cool Exploration at Home

Icy investigations begin by making some ice cubes in a tray. You could also buy some ice cubes at the shop if you prefer.

  • Ask your child if they have seen ice cubes before. Do they know how ice cubes are made?
  • Explain that to make water into ice, it needs to be made very, very cold. Usually, this happens in a freezer or when the temperature outside becomes freezing.
  • Talk about what your child thinks will happen to the water when it is in the freezer. Can they describe how the frozen water will look?

Once you have your ice cubes, you can experiment with melting by adding the following:

  • Warm water
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Cold water

Encourage your child to talk about what is happening to the ice cubes. Why do they think the changes are happening?

Challenge your child to think about places where the ice cubes would not melt or may melt more slowly or quickly.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

  • You could also put bowls of ice cubes into different places around your house to see what happens.
    •  Try places such as in a fridge, in a sunny window and a cupboard.
  • Make some ice in a variety of forms, for example:
    • large ice balloons (made by freezing balloons filled with water)
    • coloured ice cubes (using food colouring or paint)
    • ice hands (made by filling rubber gloves with water and freezing)
    • ice with objects inside such as sequins, glitter, feathers, plastic bricks or small-world objects
    • mix sand into the water to make different types of frozen forms

Understanding the World

Understanding the World is one of the seven areas of learning and development in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) framework. Guiding children to understand the world is how children learn about other people, the place they live and all aspects of the environment.

Babies and young children find out about the world very effectively when they investigate by touching, holding or pressing things and climbing on and jumping off of things. Older children love to explore and investigate how and why things work and test out their ideas of what will happen if they do something like pouring more and more water into a container, for example.

Learning about the world around them starts with being curious about people, learning their names and enjoying looking at photos and books about themselves and their families.  As children begin to understand the people in their lives, it’s important to provide opportunities to talk about past and present events in their lives.

Start Local [at Home]

Understanding of the world develops as children take notice of everything around them, including places and all the things within them, such as trees in the natural environment and roads and traffic in the built environment. Finding out about places begins initially when a child learns about their own home and the things nearby, then later as children notice things on journeys to and from home – such as the sequence of the traffic lights or names on street signs.

We can build on children’s natural curiosity about the world around them by providing opportunities to observe, investigate and explore. Children must have the time, chance, and activities indoors and outdoors to encourage their interest and curiosity.

More Fun Learning at Home

Look at and talk about family photographs together

Go for an autumn walk, investigate leaves draw a picture of what you saw

Chalking around puddles – watch what happens as the water evaporates

Making music with water in jars

Throw balloons/floaty scarves/fabrics/feathers/tissues or blow bubbles into the air watch them drop, blow or fan them back up again

Observing fruit as it decays over time

Encourage your child to gather objects from outside (leaves, stones, sticks etc.) in a bucket, bring them back, tip out the bucket and explore their things together.
fiona aartsen

Fiona Aartsen

Fiona is the Achievement and Progress Leader (APL) of Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 on our Junior School Leidschenveen campus. She has been working at the BSN for almost 25 years and has been an early years practitioner for nearly 35 years. In the BSN, she has nearly always worked in Foundation Stage – as a TA (teaching assistant), Senior TA (teaching assistant), teacher, lead teacher and APL.

Fiona is interested in research and studies in Early Childhood, Child Development and Child Psychology. She has completed numerous diplomas and qualifications in these areas in both the UK and North America.

Fiona is committed to giving children the chance to develop a lifelong respect for learning.

Read more blogs about Learning through Play

Leave a Reply