Ice Cube Engineering: Discovery at Home


  • Ice cubes (rectangular shaped ice is recommended).
  • Plate or tray.
  • Paper towel or cloth towel.


  1. First, try building a tower with ice cubes on a plate. See how high you can make the tower.
  2. Think about the foundation. Is it too slippery? Use a piece of cloth or a paper towel under your ice cube structure to experiment with creating a more stable foundation.
  3. Continue to experiment with other materials as a foundation for your ice structure. Enjoy building!

Ways to expand it:

  • Use different shapes and sizes of ice. How does this change the process? Does it make it easier or harder to create?
  • What happens when you put your ice structure in the freezer after it is complete? Does it make it sturdier?
  • Try using a sponge as part of your structure.

How do kids benefit?

  • States of matter. Gas, solid, liquid are the three states of matter. This activity focuses on solids and liquids. The longer it takes to build the structure, the more the ice melts and turns to liquid.
  • Experimentation! When kids experiment, they're learning how to learn. Failure is an important part of experimenting, so let kids try things that won’t work. It’s how they figure things out!
  • Hand eye coordination. Young children can use activities like building to help improve communication between their minds and bodies.
  • Interactions between materials. Children can experiment with different materials as a foundation to see how they interact with the ice cubes.
  • Sensory play! Sensory play that lets children touch, squeeze, smell and feel helps build connections in the brain.


  • Foundation. The base or platform that supports a structure.