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Frozen Paint Summer Activity – Busy Toddler


Child is holding a craft stick with a green ice cube on it. They are painting with the green paint-sicle.

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Enjoy this “how-to” article for making a frozen paint summer activity. This perfect outdoor art project provides a sensory, science, and creative way to explore paint. This activity works for toddler to big kids.

Child is holding a craft stick with a green ice cube on it. They are painting with the green paint-sicle.

What is frozen paint?

Summertime = all the art outside.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve got a great process for doing art inside my house, but that doesn’t mean I won’t take EVERY CHANGE to move it outdoors the moment the sun shines.

Frozen paint has always been one of our most favorite activities and it is literally that: Frozen. Paint.

But today: it got the boot outside to be one of our summer activities.

And we were so into it. Frozen paint and summer days are MFEO (made for each other).

RELATED: Looking for more outdoor summer activities for kids? Check out my list!

A child holds a craft stick with a blue ice cube on it. They are painting with it on white paper. More craft sticks with paint are next to them.

How to pre-plan with frozen paint

As much as I hate this part though, you have to plan ahead for this activity.

I KNOW. I DON’T LIKE THAT AT ALL.

I’m more of a “fly by the seat of my pants/do activities when we need activities” kind of gal.

But this is worth it.

In fact, I usually make this on a day when things are going just fine and I have a minute or two of peace in my kitchen. Then I bust it out on a not-so-good day, I’m a hero, and point for team Past Susie.

RELATED: Painting can be a full blown activity – not a quick one and done on a white sheet of paper. Check out these “out of the box” painting activities for kids.

A child holds a craft stick with a red ice cube on it. They are painting with it on white paper. More craft sticks with paint are next to them.

Materials

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All these art supplies are ones that I keep on hand year round. I don’t have a ton of activity supplies (even though I’m literally the lady on the internet who does kids activities), but I believe you can do a lot with a little.

An ice cube tray with foil over the top. Craft sticks have been stuck into the spots.

How to make frozen paint

  1. Squirt paint into the ice cube trays. Fill each slot half full
  2. Top with water and stir
  3. Cover with foil
  4. Cut a slit in the top of the foil over each slot and add in a stick
  5. Freeze

How to set up the painting activity

When you are ready to use the frozen paint, peel off the foil, crack the tray, and remove each little paint-sicle.

PRO TIP: Set a few of the frozen paint cubes on a plate with a touch of warm water.

Lay down some white butcher paper and let your child go for it: this is summer painting at its finest. There’s no goal here – let your child paint however they want to paint.

RELATED: Do you have a child who love art? Check out my gift guide for artists.

A child holds a craft stick with a yellow ice cube on it. They are painting with it on white paper. More craft sticks with paint are next to them.

What is a process art activity?

Process art is a fancy way of saying “art that doesn’t have an outcome.” When a child uses paper plates to make a craft of a turtle or colors in a coloring book, those activities have predetermined outcomes.

Process art is the opposite: it’s art with not goal.

This art with frozen paint has no outcome: just let the child paint what they want to paint.

Frequently Asked Questions

How old should kids be for frozen paint?

Remember to consider the child’s stage in life and their interests before age. Does your child enjoy art? Can they hold a brush or craft stick? Can they safely play with washable paint? If yes, this activity might be something they’d be interested in. For my kids, this was typically around age 2.

What age can kids start using paint?

Whenever you are ready and feel like they’re enjoy the experience AND it won’t become an all you can eat, non-toxic paint buffet. My best advice, though: try. Don’t wait. Give it a go on a small scale. This is like a food exposure. Little by little, let them grow and learn how to use paint.

Does washable paint stain?

It’s ironic that washable paint doesn’t always feel super washable. If washable paint gets on your child’s clothing, try this: rinse it with warm water and apply hand soap. Rub the fabric against itself to activate the soap. Add a little more and soap, then let it sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse and repeat until the stain comes out before you ever toss it in the wash.

Susie Allison, M. Ed

Owner, Creator

Susie Allison is the creator of Busy Toddler and has more than 2 million followers on Instagram. A former teacher and early childhood education advocate, Susie’s parenting book “Busy Toddler’s Guide to Actual Parenting” is available on Amazon.

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