Inside: This winter fine motor activity is so simple, yet is packed with fun. Toddlers and preschoolers love using droppers to squeeze and release vibrant watercolors into bins of ice cubes!
Painting on ice is a big hit in our preschool classroom. It all started about six years ago when my assistant teacher invited our students to paint on top of blocks of ice.
This year I tried something different, involving more fine motor strengthening as the paint was DROPPED onto ice.
Our busiest children especially loved the action of this activity while focusing on transferring paint from the container to the ice.
It tied in perfectly with our snow and ice theme!
There are so many creative ways to add fine motor to different activities, getting the hands ready for writing.
No matter what area of the classroom I am working on, I think about how the hands will be involved.
I especially love anything that involves droppers.
- Dropping Watercolors On Paper Towel
- Squeezing Water Into Heart Containers
- Dropping Paint On Shamrocks
So when I was looking for a winter fine motor activity, I wanted to use droppers again.
Putting Together a Winter Fine Motor Activity With Watercolors and Ice
- Small tub
- Liquid watercolors
- Ice cubes
A Note About Droppers
I like to use droppers with larger bulbs for our toddlers. The larger area allows them to start by using 2 hands, making it easier to squeeze and release.
Once their hands are stronger, I offer pipettes. It takes more control to use these, a great fine motor challenge!
Setting Up This Activity
Place your tubs on a table and add ice cubes.
Pour liquid watercolors into containers and dilute with water, as desired.
Place droppers beside each container of paint and that’s it!
Invite your children to transfer the watercolors from the container to the tub of ice.
If this is your children’s first time using droppers, show them how to use the bulb to squeeze and release the paint.
It might take a few times to get the hang of it.
The more times they repeat the process, the easier it will be.
We start using droppers early in the school year, such as with our farm animal water table. From there, they are used throughout the seasons with different activities.
Using Multiple Colors
We used four different colors for a color mixing experience.
Since this was part of our winter theme, I stuck with cooler colors.
This would be a fun activity to use with primary colors during the rainbow theme. I need to keep that in mind for March!
But for now, we had fun with the blues, teals and purples.
Another reason I chose ice was for the sense of touch.
Several of the children stopped to feel the ice in their hands, exclaiming, “It’s cold!”
Since we had four tubs and nine children, not everyone could participate at once. When the first group was finished, we dumped the colored ice into the sink and added fresh ice for the next group.
Cleaning up this winter fine motor activity is just as simple as the set up!
Simply dump the ice into the sink and rinse the tubs.
And, of course, you will need to clean your paint containers and rinse out your droppers.
But still, easy!
More Winter Theme Activities
Counting: Five Little Snowmen (Free Printable)
Color Recognition: Mitten Color Matching (Free Printable)
Literacy: Colors In The Cold (With Free Printable Props)
Circle Time: Snowflake Props (Free Printable)
Art: Winter Collage
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