Preschool Ice & Water Art Activities


Ice and water are a delight to preschool children. Learn how to use ice and water in preschool art activities, such as marbled paintings, colorful carnations and ice cube paintings.

Marbled Paper

  • Creating art with water and ice is an excellent way to explore the properties of water. When children create marbled paper, they will learn that some liquids will float on the water. In this case, the liquid that floats on the water is cooking oil. To marble paper, get two colors of tempera paint, two cups, two eyedroppers, several pieces of white paper and a baking pan. Place oil in one cup and water in the other. Mix one color of paint in a cup with cooking oil, and mix the other color of paint with water. Put a piece of white paper at the bottom of the baking pan. Use one eyedropper to pick up a dropper full of oil and paint, then use the other eyedropper to pick up a dropper full of water and paint. Have the children squirt water paint and oil paint onto the paper. As they move the paper around, the water and oil will bump against each other and create funny patterns. This marbled paper provides an opportunity to talk about the properties of water and how water and oil push against each other. At the end of the experiment, have the children put the paper on a clothesline to dry.

Colorful Carnations

  • Plants need water, too, and one way to make water visible in an artistic way is to create colorful carnations. Get enough white carnations for each preschooler, and get a few extras just in case one gets broken. Have the children fill cups part way with water. Use eyedroppers to add different colors of food coloring to the cups of water. Place a carnation into each cup. In a day or two, the water will travel up the carnation and turn the entire flower a different color. This process fascinates preschoolers and is an artistic way to show how water moves through a plant.

Ice Cube Paintings

  • The textures of water and ice are fascinating to preschoolers. Splashing in water and holding a dripping ice cube will help them learn about the different states of water. Even the smallest of children can learn that when water is a liquid, it splashes delightfully. When water is a solid, it's cold and it drips. Put these discoveries into action with ice cube art. You will need several ice cube trays, a chopstick or toothpick for each ice cube, food coloring and paper. This project takes at least a day. Let the children touch the water with a finger to feel its texture. Have them slowly pour water into the ice cube trays until each tray is full. Add a drop of food coloring to the different ice cubes. Add a toothpick, spoon or chopstick to each ice cube. This is the ice cube grip. Place the trays in the freezer. The next day, remove the ice cubes from the trays. Place paper on a table or outdoors. The children can hold onto the stick and move the ice cube back and forth over the paper. When their art is done, hang it to dry. Over time, experiment with more or less food coloring and substitute tempera paint, natural dyes or flavored drink mixes for the food coloring to achieve different paint effects.

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  • Photo Credit TAGSTOCK1/iStock/Getty Images Paint brush and aqua paints image by PaulPaladin from carnation image by timur1970 from toothpicks image by timur1970 from
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