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Ice Cube Painting

This is a fun summer activity for all children! As your child plays and creates with melting ice, they will be working on their autonomy and learning about making choices. Your child will be using a variety of skills while being creative and avoiding distractions.

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Tap into your child’s creative side with these icy paintbrushes!

This is a simple activity that’s perfect for a hot summer day. All you’ll need to do is fill an ice cube tray with colored water and add some popsicle sticks, then place in the freezer until you’re ready to play. Once you’re ready, set up an area outside for your child to get creative by painting with the ice as it melts! 

🎨 Messy Alert! You probably don’t want your child wearing white today as the coloring can stain. 

📚 Books to explore: A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni, Mit It Up! by Herve Tullet, and The Mixed-Up Chameleon By Eric Carle.

🦙 Hidden surprises. As a fun surprise, hide small plastic animals inside of the ice for the children to discover.


For this activity you will need:

Ice cube tray 

Popsicle sticks 

Food coloring




Plastic wrap or aluminum foil

Hard paper

Learning Outcomes




Fine Motor


Scribbling expands to include lines and shapes


Step 1:

Have your child pick three or four colours they want to paint with.

Step 2:

In separate cups, mix water and food coloring (1 color per cup) to form your paint. 

Step 3:

Pour the colored water into slots in an ice cube tray.

Step 4:

Cover the ice tray with plastic wrap or aluminum foil, poking a small hole over each ice cube slot.

Step 5:

Cut your popsicle sticks in half and place them in the tray so they are standing as straight up as possible.

Step 6:

Freeze completely.

Step 7:

Find a nice place outside to set up a painting area.

Step 8:

Have the children use the ice cubes to paint on the hard paper. Once finished, allow it to fully dry.

⬆️ For older preschoolers: Have your older children do the mixing and give them the independence to do this activity on their own. 

⬇️ For younger toddlers: Your younger children may need some encouragement and hand over hand to get them started.

Playful Questions

What colors should we use? 

What will happen when we put the water in the freezer? 

What happens when ice is in the sun? 

Why does ice melt?

Will the ice melt clear or colored?

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