Hello fellow earthplayers! Are you having a fun winter? (or summer, for those of you soaking in the sun “down under”)  Here in Ithaca NY it’s been cold! Really cold. Almost pushing the limits of our favorite saying, “no bad weather, just bad clothing”. But not quite….there have still been plenty of days to go out and play, explore, build, and create. What do you do in winter? Sled? Build snowmen? Eat snow? There is a lot to do and it’s such a contrast to summer activities it’s a bit mindblowing. (really: where I live it is so different from summer to winter it’s crazy. all on one planet. all in one place. From our human perspective, our planet floating in space creates a big shift in temperatures and light and yet…and yet…from a planetary geologic perspective it is a quite subtle really.  temperate enough to sustain life — our lives! A little more heat in the summer and we couldn’t take it. And if the temperatures tipped just a bit more frigid in the winters, forget it. But, we’re lucky. Our planet is a good host for us. Thanks Earth!) But I digress!

So how about that winter and children and outdoor fun? Ever try freezing stuff to play with? Making ice sculptures? Pulling out the ol’ food coloring? At the Hands-on-Nature Anarchy Zone in the Ithaca Children’s Garden we’ve been having lots of fun in winter, especially at our recent Fire and Ice Festival. One of the highlights was our now famous “Ice Lab” — something you could totally try too. We asked folks ahead of time to freeze water in fun and funky molds (water balloons, plastic leftover containers, ice cube trays, bowls, buckets, even kiddie pools) and we did too. (The Ithaca Water Department even got in on the fun and did a bunch of frozen ice pieces for us!) Then we set up a designated area for all this stuff and staged it with empty bowls, spoons, cups, and squirt bottles filled with food coloring and water. What a blast! So many yummy food coloringy concoctions. Some many grand ice experiments. Try it! (and if it’s too warm to try it where you live, it’s not: you have freezers, right?)


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