When the snow is fresh on the ground it is the best feeling in the world. Kids whizzing down powdery slopes, squealing in delight, not noticing the cold. Chucking snowballs and building snowmen, until we are breathless and rosy-cheeked with cold and laughter. Then home for hot chocolate and an argument about who got the most marshmallows. But when it gets colder, and snow turns to dirty ice, it is no longer fun. So as the weather looks set to get colder again, here is something you might want to do with the kids this weekend – Icicles!

You will need:

A shallow baking tray
Playdoh or biscuit cutters of various shapes
Cold water
String
Food colouring (optional)

  • Spread your playdoh cutters out in the baking tray – larger ones without too many narrow edges work best.
  • Place short pieces of string under one edge of each cutter, making sure they don’t touch each other
  • If you are using food colouring, mix a small amount into some cold water until you get the colour you want – I did red, the Bug got blue, and then we used the leftovers to make purple!
  • Pour the water into the tray until it is about 1cm deep
  • Put your tray outside in the garden (it was -5C when we did this!) overnight and allow it to freeze (or in the freezer if your Mum is a wuss and doesn’t want to go out in the cold!)

"Using playdoh or biscuit cutters to make icicle shapes"In the morning, all being good and cold, you should have trays of frozen water. You need to carefully prise the cutters out of the ice (a toffee hammer or equivalent helps to break the surrounding ice from the edges of the cutters). Each icicle shape should have a peice of string frozen into it, so you can tie them to the washing-line, bird table, tree, or a coathanger mobile, wherever the catch the light.

"Make icicle shapes"

Now thaw out your fingers with another hot chocolate and admire! What do you do in cold weather with your family?


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