Invitation to Nature-Based Play: Snow Gems

Invitation by: Laura Grunze-Franz


There are days when getting the boys out into the snow and cold is very difficult. The difficulty does not lie in the fact that it is cold and snowy, but in their desire to stay in the cozy, warm house. However, they can be easily coaxed out. Ice Gems are one way to coax them out…

All you need are ice cube trays, food coloring, and water. If you want to add a teachable science moment, use only primary (red, yellow and blue) colors and show your kids how to mix them to make other colors. My young boys think color mixing is rather magical.


Just mix the food color into the water, pour the colors into the different ice cube molds, and freeze. Make as many different colored ice cubes as you want. We made two trays full. I set the ice trays outside to freeze the water, just to avoid any color spill “mishaps” in my freezer. Once they are frozen, let the kids take them to the snow and play with them as they see fit.


We did an ice gem search in the snow. My youngest boy made a little cave for his gems and stored them in there. We let ours sit out for days until they melted and turn the snow many pretty colors. This is just a little invitation to add even more fun to nature’s wonderful playground of snow.  Happy ice gem hunting!


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