Ice Painting for Kids

You know those days when you just want a super simple activity to keep the kids busy? Those days when you just want to open the cabinet and pull out 1 or 2 items that will just WOW them while you go read a book? (Okay, or make dinner, clean house, pay bills …) Well, actually, this activity is pulled out of the freezer. Hello, ice painting for kids!


Ice painting is loved any time of the year! Indoors, outdoors, at home and at school.


In the winter it can tie in with a snow theme and in the summer it can be added to a cool outdoor activity on a hot day. We’ve done this activity at the beginning of the school year, when we were introducing our preschoolers to watercolors and different textures, and we’ve done it in the spring during our nature science unit. It’s probably one of the most simplest painting activities around, and yet it is always popular with kids.


It’s a favorite go-to activity any time!


 ice painting for kids


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Ice Painting for Kids


What you will need:

  • A large piece of ice, frozen in your choice of plastic container
  •  Watercolors
  • A plastic tray to catch the puddles

painting on ice


Setting it up:

Pour water in your plastic container and allow it to freeze overnight. (One for each child, or for the amount of children who can fit at your art table at one time.) Right before starting this activity, remove the ice from the container onto a tray. Place watercolors on the tray next to the ice, along with a paintbrush.

Tip: Have a few of these ice blocks in your freezer at all times. This way they will be handy at that last minute when the kids have extra energy, or when a playdate needs some extra fun. 

painting on ice


 The process:

Invite your children to brush the watercolors on top of the ice block.

painting on ice



Notice what happens with the watercolors as the ice starts melting. The texture starts changing, as do the colors.

 painting on ice


painting on ice


painting on ice


When finished:

Either leave it as is, or press a piece of paper on top to make a print. Then, simply place the ice in the sink to melt. Clean up is a breeze!

 ice painting for kids


 Here are more fun activities for kids:


Learning the Alphabet - Activities for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds        toddler play activities     Best Books for Kids to Sing With


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

About Sheryl Cooper

Sheryl Cooper is the founder of Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds, a website full of activities for toddlers and preschoolers. She has been teaching this age group for over 15 years and loves to share her passion with teachers, parents, grandparents, and anyone with young children in their lives.


  1. Tammy@ Housing A Forest says:

    So fun! My kids had a blast using watercolors on ice blocks this summer. It was a great way to stay cool. I totally agree, the color mixing that takes place on the ice and in the tray is totally delightful.

  2. Sabrina Banks says:

    Hello! I loved your link on Sow Sprout Saturday! After looking at this post I decided I needed to do something with ice with my kids. Here is what I decided to do . Hope you enjoy!

    Sabrina @

  3. Sheryl Cooper says:

    Love that idea, Sabrina! Am going to share it on my wall. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  4. Malia {Playdough to Plato} says:

    So simple and fun!! My kids will LOVE this! Thanks Sheryl. 🙂

  5. Renee McDaniel says:

    Could a canvas be pressed onto the ice painting?

  6. Melissa Campbell says:

    This is awesome. Wouldit work with powder paints or just water colours?

  7. Sara Rains says:

    Any tips on the easiest way to remove the ice from the plastic dishes/containers? I’m imagining that being tricky! Am I thinking too much into it? 🙂

    • Hi Sara! After we took the trays from the freezer, we ran warm water over them to melt the ice a bit. They then slid out of the trays.