We recently saved Christmas and you can too! Santa’s sleigh was frozen in a block of ice (not surprising because it sits in the North Pole for 364 days a year), and we helped free it in time for Christmas. As we helped we observed ice changing from a solid to a liquid with the help of salt and warm water.
This science activity is easy to set up (the trickiest part was finding room for Santa’s sleigh in my freezer) and my kids stayed busy trying to free Santa’s sleigh from the ice for at least a full hour! We got Santa’s sleigh nearly out, then we had to leave for a doctors appointment. When we returned home, the sleigh was free and Santa was ready for his trip Christmas Eve…(thank goodness!)
Mini Sleigh (that wont get ruined if wet)
1. Put the sleigh in a bowl with water and freeze. I filled our bowl almost to the top, remember that water expands when it freezes so you will want to leave room for it to grow.
2. Once the water is frozen, remove the ice and Santa’s sleigh from the bowl. You may need to let your bowl sit on the counter and warm up a bit before the sleigh will come out. Place it on top of another bowl and let kids help Santa defrost his sleigh.
We squirted water and dumped salt on the ice and it made cool striations in the ice after a minute or two as it helped to break down the ice crystals.
Then we used warm water to speed up the melting. The water made neat caves through the ice as it melted. Ms. Tiger was excited to see the ice turn back into water as it melted. It also made a nice relaxing noise as it dripped into out pan.
Since we used a large block of ice, the water helped speed up the activity. Without it, the ice would have melted too slowly to keep my kiddos attention. If you use a smaller amount of ice or your kids are more patient, you may not need the warm water.