When my son was a preschooler, I was forever looking for new artsy activities to do with him. I especially loved activities where the set-up was part of the activity itself—you get more mileage out of those. We’d make homemade play dough together or mix together corn starch, water and food colouring to make footpath paint.
So when I came across these homemade “ice cube paints” on YouTube, I knew it was something we would have loved doing together. Except that now he’s nine years old and definitely too old for this sort of thing, right? Well, he doesn’t think so. When I asked him recently if he’d like to try it with me so I could take some photos for this post, he jumped right up and got to work. And when we were all done, he thanked me for breaking up his afternoon with something different.
What you need
To make these ice cube paints, you’ll need to gather:
An ice cube tray
Washable paints (the video says you can use food colouring instead, which would probably produce more of a watercolor look)
I did not have popsicle sticks and I didn’t feel like venturing out in search of popsicle sticks, so I improvised—by popping the handle off some old plastic utensils. Unconventional, maybe, but it worked perfectly fine.
Step one: Squeeze a little paint into the bottom of each compartment. About two teaspoons should do it.
Step two: Add water and mix thoroughly.
Step three: Freeze. Put the cubes in the freezer for about an hour until they’re partially frozen. Stick your popsicle sticks/broken utensils in and finish freezing until solid.
Step four: Roll out some paper and get ready to paint! You’ll need to let the cubes start melting a bit to more easily spread the paint. Let them sit out at room temperature for about 15 minutes before you get started.
This was a one-and-done activity for a nine-year-old, but if he were younger, I would have popped those paint popsicles into a freezer bag and stuck them back in the freezer for another day. There was plenty of paint left over to get a few uses out of them.