Ice Luminary

My kids adore 1) anything spherical (think balls, balloons, bubbles) and 2) anything that glows. So the combination of the two in this activity was a real winner. For us, there were two highlights to this project. First, the idea of a balloon and water resulting in a larger, round ball of ice was fascinating and fun. Then, seeing this icy mass transform into a glowing sphere was pretty magical. After you are done with your ice luminary, you can use the leftover ball of ice for salt tunnel experiments.

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Step 1

    Gather all of your materials!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    First, we filled up our balloons with water and tied them off. Careful on this step, as we did get a little wet when one slick balloon squirmed its way out of our hands!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Then, we placed our balloons in the freezer overnight for 24 hours. This step requires a bit of patience. It takes a while for the water to freeze all the way through.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    After waiting, take the balloon out and trim the knot off. Then you should be able to slide your ball of ice out of the balloon. If not, make another little cut at the mouth of the opening.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    Ta-dah! You have your ball of ice. This alone was slippery cold fun for the kids.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Done!

    To make our globe of ice glow, we set our tea light into the small container and covered it with a clear lid. Then brought that along with the ice outside. Place the container on the ground / in the snow. When you put your ball of ice on top of it, it glows! Next time (- and there will be a next time!), we want to try to add watercolor or food coloring our balls of ice to add some variety and color to the mix.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 6

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