Over the last two weeks, our preschool students had an opportunity to experience the water cycle firsthand. They entered Roxaboxen to see trays with watercolors, paper, and paintbrushes…but no water! Instead, each student had a cube of ice. The students had a great time figuring out how to melt the ice to get water for the paint, exploring different ways to get the paint onto the paper, and watching the paint dry as the water evaporated.

Some observations the students made were:

  • “The ice moves faster when there’s no paint on the paper.”
  • “If you touch the ice a lot, it melts.”
  • “One brush is better at breaking the ice.”
  • “When water comes out of ice, it’s melting.”
  • “Look! A big splashy puddle!”
  • “Where did my ice cube go? It disappeared!” “No, it melted!!”
    Maybe breaking the ice will make it melt faster?

    Painting the ice


Early attempts to melt the ice.
Mixing colors right on the ice cube!
Using the ice cube as a painting tool gets easier the more it melts.(Look at the light lines that get darker as the paints get wetter!)

Two different painting techniques with the same materials.
The students “played hockey” to get more water on their trays.
Using the ice cube to paint.


Finally, there’s enough water to make bright colors!
The ice has melted so much, we can use our fingers to drip paint onto the paper!
Painting with wet paint on wet paper makes the color spread out.
Using the flat side of the ice cube is different from using a corner.

What happens when we “play hockey” on the paper instead of the tray?

If we paint on the tray first, we can make prints on the paper!
“My paper is soaking wet!!!”
“I made a telescope!”
Squeezing out a wet paper.