Making Icicles and Learning Science

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What?  Don’t believe me?  It’s so true.  Turing a tree into a ball of ice, complete with tons of dangling icicles will greatly enhance your kids education.

You see, my kids are obsessed with icicles.  They are constantly on the lookout for the things.  Sadly, the place where we find the most is attached to the bottom of our car.  You know the ones that I mean.  The super nasty brown ones that are coated with dirt, oil, and who knows what.  Totally gross.

Not to be a total party pooper and completely ban the touching of all icicles (which I’ve considered), I thought that we could make our own.  No, I didn’t tell my kids what the end goal was, just that we were going to do a cool experiment.

Me:  Hey Mason, what do you think would happen if I turn the sprinklers on under the tree tonight?

Mason:  They will freeze and turn off

Me:  What would we need to do this?

Mason:  Our little small sprinkler and the hose

That night I turned on the sprinkler for about 1 1/2 hours when the temperature was about 29 degrees.

Me:  Mason, what happened to the sprinkler?

Mason:  It kept working, and just got the tree really wet

The next morning…

Me:  Where did all these icicles come from?

Mason:  Oh, the sprinkler did it (lightbulb just came on)

Me:  How did they get so long?

Mason: (took a while to think about it) The water keeps getting it colder and colder and more water makes them bigger.

Me:  So what would you tell someone if they wanted to turn the sprinkler on in the winter?

Mason:  That if you leave it on for a long time, the water will keep shooting out and make icicles.

Okay, the former science teacher in me just busting to get out.  Little did Mason know, but we were walking through the scientific method together.  The scientific method is the basis for most science and the sooner kids learn about it the better.  Yep, I felt pretty good about turning on my water in the middle of winter just to make a bunch of icicles – it was educational after all (and sure beat the scary brown ones on the car).  



  • Wendi S says:

    Thatss a great Idea. They are gonna Love it!

  • bringthekids says:

    I’m thinking it would also be cool on a tree with Christmas lights. Is that dangerous?

  • Amelia says:

    Very cool experiment. All I could think about was “don’t waste the water” though! HA! But, it IS in the name of science, so great idea! ;0

  • Sara Stong says:

    Nicely done, Jessica! Did you turn off the hose and unplug it so it didn’t freeze in the pipe overnight?, I worry I would forget. 🙂 Too cool! I ditto your sentiments about the nasty brown ones that hang from the car.

    • bringthekids says:

      Thanks for pointing that out. I set the timer and disconnected it all from the house when I was done. I think if you left the sprinkler on all night it would be fine, but I was worried about too much ice on my tiny tree!

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