Awhile back we had hit a rut in our stay-at-home activities, when I asked JJ to tell me some things that he was curious about learning. At the top of the list was, “how ice works” quickly followed by “animals that live in ice.” These were followed by “why do dragons breathe fire” and “how do things fly.” Let’s just say that I was very relieved that ice that topped this list!

I was newly unemployed, so I excitedly put together a week’s worth of ice-related lessons. I love themes. My 5 year old has recently joined the ranks of loved ones who tell me not everything needs to fit a theme. It’s a problem. So, I made a fish counting activity with construction-paper penguins, we made snow dough, we make Frozen-themed milkshakes, we did arctic-themed Cosmic Kids yoga. It was a lot of work. And let me tell you, the activity that went the furthest in terms of actually teaching the boys something about ice was also the most fun and the easiest of the bunch! It was a homemade superhero ice story made from some basic items we already had in the kitchen.


  • A Bowl
  • Water
  • Blue Food Coloring
  • Salt
  • Animal or Action Figures

Set the Scene

The night before the activity, I brought out one of our large Fiestaware soup bowls filled with water. My kids have a ton of PJ Mask Action figures, so JJ and I took some of them and I made up a story that ended with Night Ninja tricking the PJ Masks into the bowl. Then it was time for the Big Freeze. The bowl was transported into the freezer for the night. I told JJ we would continue playing in the morning.

Time to Be a Hero!

The next day, it was time to see what happened with our superheroes. We removed them from the freezer, to find everyone frozen in the bowl! I asked the boys what happened, and we talked about water turning into ice at 32 degrees. To save the PJ Masks, we would need to turn the ice back into water again.

I brought out two bowls of warm water mixed with blue food coloring and a bowl of salt for them to share, and informed them that these were all they would need to free their superhero friends. And the 90+ degree heat outside might help too!

They had so much fun with this project, and were fully engaged with freeing the PJ Masks for over an hour. It was the perfect outdoor learning activity for a hot summer day.

And as a bonus, they kept the story going by playing with the colored ice water and action figures afterward.