Inside: Put together a super fun toddler bear painting activity using ice that is shaped as a bear paw. Toddlers love exploring the cold feeling while also seeing what happens to the paint as the ice starts melting!
Add some process art to your hibernation theme this winter!
We love painting on ice, especially when it’s shaped for a specific season or theme.
In the past we have enjoyed:
Just freeze water in the pan and brush paint on top!
During our centers time, we always have something going on at the art table.
Often it is related to the theme, although not always.
While we do some crafts in our classroom (especially during the holidays), I prefer process art.
Process art is just that – all about the process rather than the end result.
In my 22+ years of teaching 2 and 3 year olds, I’ve found that overall they prefer process art activities, too.
With this toddler bear art activity, it was all about mixing colors on top of ice, watching them mix as the ice started melting.
I didn’t need to give lengthy directions, nor did I have to do much assisting.
Simple hands-on exploration!
Toddler Bear Painting On Ice
What we used:
*Note: If you don’t have a specially shaped cake pan, try our simple ice painting method!
About the paint:
While we used watercolor palettes, you could also use liquid watercolors or tempera paint thinned with water.
Fill cake pan with water and freeze.
Since we had four spots at our art table, we needed four frozen bear paws. I didn’t want to buy four cake pans, so I simply made four sets using one mold.
As each set freezes, set the mold in warm water just long enough so the ice will pop out of the mold.
Store each frozen bear paw in your freezer until you have the desired amount.
I froze mine at home, so I used an ice chest to transport them to school.
I kept them in the ice chest until it was centers time and our art table was open.
Place trays at the table along with paint and brushes. As the children sit down at the table, place a frozen bear paw on each tray.
Once everything is ready, start painting!
As I said earlier, there aren’t many instructions needed, especially if your toddlers have experienced painting.
Your toddlers might first want to explore the ice itself, noticing how cold it is.
They might want to try to pick it up, as ours did.
Such a great way to add the sense of touch to an art activity!
As the ice starts melting, the paint will be easier to move around.
If multiple colors are used, they will start mixing in the small puddles that might start to form.
I am often asked if the ice melts quickly, and the answer is no. Many imagine this to be a drippy mess, but we haven’t had that experience.
You will experience some puddles, of course, and that’s why I put ours on a tray.
Reusing the Ice
If you have more children than you do ice, reuse it!
As the first child finishes, take the ice to the sink (carrying it on the tray) and rinse using cold water.
Return the tray and the ice to the art table for the second child to try.
Making a Print
This is completely optional, and something I only thought of at the last minute.
I happened to have a short stack of fresh paper on the counter, so I decided to invite our toddlers to make a print of their work.
Place the paper on top of the painted bear paw ice and rub all around.
Then, lift the paper.
Dump the painted ice into the sink and let it thaw.
Wash the trays and brushes, put away the paint, and that’s it!
More Bear Activities and Printables
FREE CIRCLE TIME PLANNER!
Get your FREE circle time planner as a gift when you subscribe to my free weekly newsletters.