Image by: Toshiyuki IMAI

Ice Bowling

Age Range
3-8 yrs
Setup Time
5 minutes!
Setup Location

Research suggests that young children don't think as creatively or critically when adults tell them what to do. Simple instructions, like, "It works this way..." appear to deter kids from investigating and testing ideas of their own (Bonawitz et al 2011; Buchsbaum et al 2011). It's as if kids assume the adults have told them everything they need to know. All that is left is to carry out the procedures, faithfully and uncritically, whether or not they seem to make sense.

So when we give kids the chance to experiment, it's important to avoid lectures or the appearance that we have all the right answers. Children need time to investigate things on their own and generate their own questions.

This activity encourages understanding concepts in science and improves gross motor skills when your child 'bowls' the ice ball with an underarm swing!


  1. Before kids can test their ideas about how water transforms to ice, they need time develop their ideas. So start with an unstructured activity: Give children a plastic bowl of ice cubes and let them play. You can play, too, but participate as a peer, not a teacher. The goal is to let kids make their own discoveries

  2. To make the ice balls, you can fill up water balloons and put them in the freezer overnight (you can add a few drops of food coloring to the balloon before filling to make colorful balls). Once frozen, cut the balloon to get the frozen balls of ice

  3. To make the ice balls slide easily you can spray the ground with a hose before starting

  4. Next, line up water bottles (you can ad color to make it more exciting) like in a bowling game

  5. STRIKE! (keep extra balls - you will need many to continue playing!)

Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.