Needless to say, I found this activity on Pinterest. I am not clever enough to have come up with it on my own. The original post can be found at the queen says, so you can see her technique. I tried it out as some entertainment on a recent playdate. Our little friend got to take his home of course.
This is a really simple craft activity, though there are some difficult maneuvers to master. The basic idea is to take a bunch of round balloons, fill them with water and food colouring, then leave them outside to freeze.
The trick is to get the balloons filled without having water and/or food colouring spouting all over your kitchen. (Let's just say I got pretty wet.)
I found the easiest approach was for me to hold open the balloon and then have Little Boo and his friend add drops of food colouring (their choices). Then I wrapped the balloon opening over the tap and held it there while gently filling the balloon to the desired size. (There were many screams of "Don't let it burst!!!) Once the balloon is filled, be sure to release it from the tap gently, while holding the neck firmly closed, and tie the knot quickly.
Bring the balloons outside, and leave them to freeze. We left ours for about a day and a half.
When firmly frozen, you can cut off the balloons. Or, in our case, when I picked up the ice marbles I found the balloons hard torn on the bottom, so they easily peeled off.
Depending on the colours you chose/combined, you will be left with some very stunning or dirty-looking ice marbles to decorate your walk.
I did have one mishap. I touch-tested one of the balloons and thought it was done, so I went to pick it up. Apparently it was only frozen on the outside, but also frozen to the ground. When I lifted it the balloon tore, and I heard the terrifying sound of water pouring out onto the ground.
But in the end, it actually turned out pretty cool, as we got an ice shell instead of a marble.
There are teachable moments in this craft as well. My little mishap provided the opportunity to talk about how water freezes and how the exposed surfaces will freeze first, like a lake freezes from the top, not the bottom. The food colouring process allowed us to experiment with colour combinations and see how colours combined would result in different colours.
And in the end, the boys get to be very proud of the ice marble decorations they created. Little Boo likes to call them his gems :)
Word of warning: These can be messy. I'm still trying to get the food colouring out from under my fingernails 5 days later.