Frozen flowers

Activity

A magical nature play and sensory activity that can also form part of an art project.

  • Estimated time: 60 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Observe plants and flowers close up
  • Create beautiful patterns, sculptures or other works of art
  • Compare the changing of the seasons

Preparation

The flowers take a few hours to freeze so for younger children, you may wish to prepare them beforehand and just let them play with the finished ice cubes.

Ask your group to think about what colours they might want to freeze. Could they create a rainbow? Or would they like to create a particular work of art?

Equipment

  • Natural materials such as flowers, petals, leaves, grasses or seeds
  • A bowl or sandwich bag
  • Ice cube trays or small pots
  • Water
  • Jug (optional)
  • A freezer

Step by step

  1. Ask your pupils/children to walk around the garden with a bowl or sandwich bag and collect natural items such as flowers, petals, leaves, grasses or seeds.
  2. Place the items into an ice cube tray or other vessel like a yogurt pot (just make sure it doesn't have holes in!). 
  3. Pour water over the items - you may like to use a jug for this. 
  4. Add any extra decoration such as plastic-free glitter, coloured sand or food colouring.
  5. Put in the freezer until completely solid - around 2-3 hours is fine but longer if you can.
  6. Once set, pop your ice cubes or shapes out and observe the colours and shapes suspended in the ice. How long before they melt?

N.B. do not let children eat the ice cubes unless they contain edible flowers or plants and nothing else.

Hints & tips

  • If you don't have a garden, take a stroll around a park or woodland to find your materials.
  • If you are unsure about what plants are safe to touch, have a look at our checklist of potentially harmful plants.
  • You may wish to use scissors or secateurs to remove flowers or leaves - just remember only to cut them from plants you own or are allowed to cut from, otherwise look for fallen materials.
  • Ice cubes could be laid out to create a mosaic or beautiful patterns that could be photographed from above.
  • If you have access to a large freezer, try creating large pieces of art by laying the flowers/leaves etc onto a tray or into a dish before pouring over the water and freezing. Placing cling film on the tray/dish before the materials and water will help you remove the ice later and prevent it from shattering.
  • Freeze edible flowers or herbs into ice cubes to pop into a cold drink on a hot day.
  • Make these once each season and photograph them as you go. Compare the photos at the end of the year to observe the changes in the colours and appearance of your materials.

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