Food Science For Kids - Ice Crystal Formation
The below post about how to make fizzy army men rainbow bombs contains affiliate links to Amazon for items that you can purchase to make this experiment come to life. Thank you for reading!
I am always looking for fun new things to do with Theo around our house. Now that we have our learning tower in our kitchen, my son and I are often preparing meals together. I am a food scientist, so as we make meals together, I can't help but describe the science behind many of the things we cook, bake, and mix. We often watch proteins denature (aka the making of scrambled eggs) and Maillard Browning is always right under our noses (toast, anyone?).
One thing that is very common in kitchen science is the formation of ice crystals. Water is so very important in food science. We, and the foods we consume are composed mostly of water. The H2O molecule is magical!
A very simple way to demonstrate ice crystal formation is by making Rainbow Ice Army Men. Get ready for some serious fun! I made these with my son the other day, and he loved every minute of it.
In order to make your own Rainbow Ice Army Men, you will need the following. The experiment is to be done along side your kids, helping them along the way. You can also forego the food coloring, and toss the cubes into the bath tub at the end of a warm bath!
Rainbow Ice Army Men
- 1 Silicon Ice Cube Tray
- 1 Package Plastic Army Men
- Food Coloring
- Pyrex Measuring Cup
- 2 Cups Ice Cold Water
- 4 Plastic Cups For Mixing Colors
- 1 Medium Tub or Bowl (for warm water)
- Safety Glasses
- Plastic Gloves
Many of the materials that you need to recreate this experiment can be found on Amazon.
1) Add two cups of water to your glass pyrex measuring cup.
2) Set up your four plastic cups and divide the two cups of water solution between the four cups.
3) Glove up! Take six drops of food coloring and add it to each 1/2 cup of water. We made four different colors. Mix in the food coloring with a spoon.
5) Take your army men, and with your scissors (you do this part mom or dad!), cut the base of the army men so that they can sit between the ice cube cells. They will be too big on their own to sit in one ice cube cell, but if you cut the base, each leg can sit in one cube cell.
6) Pour each of the colors that you made in 8-9 of the ice cube cells. Then, arrange the army men in the hexagon ice cube tray.
7) Leave overnight, or approximately 6-8 hours in the freezer. Once frozen, release the men and cubes from the tray and place them into a bowl. Place them back into the freezer until ready to place in the warm water bath.
8) Set up a warm water bath in the back yard. Fill with 3 inches of warm water. Take rainbow ice army men cubes outside when you're ready to watch the colors melt.
10) Put your gloves on and also your safety glasses. Your kids will love feeling all science-y.
11) One by one, gently place the army men into the warm water. Watch the ice cubes melt and watch as the colors blend into one.
Your kids will love freeing the army men from their icey cubed state. After men are free, wash them off and then let your kids play the day away with them.