Did you know that tomorrow (Wednesday December 21st) at 10.44 GMT is the Winter Solstice. The winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It happens when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees.
To celebrate the Winter Solstice and the shortest day of the year we made a Winter Solstice ice lamp. I’ve wanted to make one for a few years, the kids always enjoy a little science at home, and finally got round to making it with the children.
a plastic tub
red berries and leaves
small LED tealight
How to make a Winter Solstice ice lamp:
This is one of those really simple crafts that just takes a little time as you need to make your ice lamp in stages.
The first stage is to gather some leaves, berries, acorns, small pinecones or whatever you can find. Next fill a tub with water, about 3 cm high and place some of your nature treasures in the water. Then place your tub in the freezer for a few hours until it is frozen. The children loved going to check if the water had frozen!
Get an empty plastic cup and fill with stones to weigh it down. Place in the centre of the plastic tub, on top of the frozen layer. Add another few centimetres of water around the cup, along with a handful of the berries and leaves, and place in the freezer.
When your ice lamp is frozen add another layer of water, leaves and berries around the cup and freeze. Continue doing this until your ice lamp reaches the top of your plastic tub.
Now comes the fun part. Remove the plastic cup from the centre of your ice lamp. We found that we could remove the cup after a few minutes, pouring in some warm water helped.
We eased the ice lamp out of the plastic tub and placed a few LED tealights in the centre of it. It lasted for quite a long time indoors then we placed it outside when it started melting. I can’t wait for tomorrow, although it’s a long time until Spring, it is still lovely to know the days will be getting slightly longer each day.