Winter Fun: Build an Ice Dream House
Create a snow castle.
- Snow:Nature will take care of that one for ya!
- Sand bucket
- Large, empty plastic soda bottles
- Empty half-gallon milk carton (the paper kind)
- Hot water
- Spray bottle
- Food coloring
- Collect a bunch of empty soda bottles and milk cartons in the weeks preceding the ice castle construction.
- Help your kid cut the tops off of the milk cartons and soda bottles, leaving the bottoms intact.
- Next, get your child to fill the bottles and cartons with cold water. If he wants to make colored ice, have him add a few drops of food coloring to the water before he freezes it.
- He can then carefully bring the full vessels outside and place them on the porch.
- Let them sit out overnight so they freeze. The milk cartons will make great big rectangular building blocks and the soda bottles will make lovely turrets.
- Head inside for a cup of hot chocolate!
- The next morning, warm up a pot of hot water and fill the spray bottle with the steaming water.
- Have your kid grab his sand buckets and spray bottle and head outside.
- Help him extract the big blocks of ice from the milk cartons and soda bottles. If you spray a bit of the warm water onto the ice blocks, they should slide out quite easily.
- Have your child pack snow into the sand bucket to make snow blocks.
- Start building! Using the snow and ice blocks, help him construct his castle. Pile the ice and snow blocks on top of each other. A few squirts of warm water from the spray bottle before piling the blocks will help cement the pieces together. Squirt and then hold in place for a few seconds to seal the deal, so to speak.
- Have your child make a few royal flags out of toothpicks and felt. Help him cut a flag-shaped piece of felt and glue it to a toothpick.
- Stick the flags into the turrets by packing a bit of snow on top of the turret. The toothpick won't penetrate the ice cube, so you'll need a snow cushion to stick it in.
- When the castle is finished, take a picture. You don't want all that hard work to disappear with the first thaw!
- Photo by Tom McWilliam, originally from a Nick Jr. Magazine photo spread produced by Karin Lidbeck.