Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ice Ghosts (aka: Frozen Blobs or Frozen Volcanoes)

Sometimes, ideas are sparked from life's most simple moments.

The idea for ice ghosts came from the simple process of cooling off my daughter's breakfast in the freezer.  I stuck her sandwich, wrapped in the paper towel, slightly damp from the steam of cooking, into the freezer.  In minutes, the paper towel had frozen in the position it was in.  "LIGHT BULB"

The idea for "ice ghosts" was born. 

If ghosts are something forbidden in your program, "ice blobs" or "frozen blobs" works too -- OR...for even more fun:  "frozen volcanoes" (read below for more info. on frozen volcanoes)

A WORD IN FAVOR OF GHOSTS:  I know some of you struggle with whether to bring ghosts into the Halloween celebration.  In my opinion, ghosts, when presented in a fun, light hearted way, are just that...FUN!  I use ghosts as a tool for talking about scary things in a fun, light hearted, humorous way.  I also use monsters for the same purpose.  I think facing fears is empowering for children.  Ghosts don't kill, they aren't bloody and they don't hurt people -- yet, they have an aire of spookiness about them that can spark grand conversations and realizations of feelings.  They also help children distinguish between real and make-believe.  In my opinion, they are a "safe scary".


  • plain white paper towel or plain white washclothes (the wash clothes turn out can purchase a package of 9 for $3 ish at Walmart)
  • water
  • cups (to form your ghost, blob or volcano on)
  • freezer
  • little paint brushes (the kind for water color painting)
  • colored water (I recommend coloring your water with Liquid Watercolor from Discount School Supply)

Step 1:  Put the washcloth in a bowl of water

Step 2:  Squeeze the excess water
This is a FANTASTIC workout for those all important hand-writing muscles!

Step 3:  Unfold the washcloth
 Both small motor strength and control of that strength are valuable for handwriting.  When using the paper towel, a child has to control their strength or else the paper towel will tear.  A great lesson in cause and effect and trial and error as well!

Step 4:  Drape the washcloth
A lot of coordination is needed for this step as well!  Lots of vocabularly is used too:  drape, slide, centered, balance etc.

Step 5:  Place your ghosts, blobs or volcanoes (whatever you choose to call them) in the freezer

Step 6:  After your frozen creations have spent the evening in the freezer, remove the cup form, balance it on it's hardened points and paint away!

The children were amazed at how hard that soft washcloth had become!  They also loved feeling the changes as the washcloth thawed.  Exploring physical change helps a child better understand this world we live in.  It is empowering to KNOW THINGS!

As the washcloth thawed, a hole started forming in the center.  When my littles observed this they shouted out "Look Nita!!  It's a volcanoe now!!"  (note for volcanoes:  have baking soda and colored vinegar on hand....scoop some baking soda into that sunken part and let them squirt it with the erruption!!)

The end product:  a thawed, colorful washcloth (don't worry...if you use the Liquid Watercolor from Discount School Supply the color will wash right out so you can do it again!!)
Once again, so much learning in the simple!  The children learned about cause and effect, physical change, new vocabularly words, imaginations were at work, small motor muscles, visual planning, sharing, colaborating (to make new colors), discussing and facing fears (if you go the ghost route)
Simple counts and play counts too!!