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What makes ice melt?

What you need

  • A large box or bucket that can contain water
  • Small items to freeze into blocks of ice such as mini plastic figures
  • Containers or ice cube trays for freezing these into ice blocks 
  • A freezer
  • Towels
  • Tools such as cutlery for freeing the characters from the ice


This activity helps to develop language and increase vocabulary as your child discusses how to free the people from the ice, the tools to be used and the changing state of the ice as it melts. Scientific knowledge and critical thinking skills as they explore the change to materials and discover what can speed up or slow down this process.

The experience

This is a fun experiment to explore how to get ice to melt, but also develop some great critical thinking. You will need to prepare this in advance by getting your items to be frozen in the freezer.  You can freeze small toys into ice by placing in a bowl/box of water and putting in the freezer. Alternatively, if you have some balloons, you can place a small object inside, fill with water and tie up before freezing. Once frozen, you can cut the balloon away from the ice shape. The ideal toy to freeze will be small plastic figures. 

This can then be a fun experience, to see how your child can free the frozen character from the ice! Set the frozen figures in ice out on a tray at the table or on the floor. You may want to place some towels around to help soak up the water as they melt! 

Your child will love playing with the ice and exploring how they are going to free the figure from inside. See what suggestions they come up with. They can try using the warmth of their hands to melt the ice but may also think of some ‘tools’ they could use to break the ice. Explore using cutlery, sticks or anything else they can think of to try.