Tag Archives: ice crafts

Everyday Play Making Outdoor Winter Ornaments

Everyday Play Making Outdoor Winter Ornaments


Several Ruth Washburn teachers make ice ornaments with children in their classes. It is both a science experiment and art activity that uses natural materials, gets children outside and results in a surprisingly lovely decoration.

Ice ornament1 Ice Ornament2

Kristin Schoonveld’s Middle 3s Class decorates a tree with their ornaments.

Here’s the “recipe” for making ice ornaments.

  • Take children for an outdoor walk.
  • Have them gather an assortment of evergreen branches, berries, small pinecones, twigs and dried flowers in pie pans. Or, as I have learned from experience, let them gather whatever they wish! I was curious how Liam’s ice pie would turn out when he selected an assortment of rocks.

Ice Ornament3
Ice ornament4

To make the ornaments:

  • Fill each pan with several inches of water
  • Next, lay twine or yarn around the inside edges of the pan to create a frame. Leave 8 to 10 inches of extra twine at the top from both ends.
  • Have children arrange their collected items in a pleasing pattern.
  • Freeze the pan outdoors or in a freezer.
  • When frozen, remove the ice ornaments from the pan and hang outdoors.

Ice Ornament5

As natural scientists, children are using their five senses to experience winter and experiment in the outdoors. In my experience, some children like the collecting, others enjoy making predictions about what will happen at various stages, some children love the resulting ice ornament, and others like hanging them up and watching them melt. Give this a try with your child and most importantly enjoy precious time together.


Sukie Jackson, Older 4s teacher

Thanks to Kristi (Morning Mixed Age Class teacher)  and Kristin for photos.