All About Ice

Ice Bingo: An Icebreaker Activity


Ice Bingo is a 15-minute icebreaker activity for children ages 8 to 13 that introduces ice and its properties and sets the stage for further explorations and activities in Explore! Ice Worlds! Children are given cards that contain squares with different types of ice experiences — like getting their tongues stuck on ice! — interspersed with ice facts and information about ice in our solar system. Children have 5 minutes to find as many participants as they can who have had experiences described on the card.

What's the Point?

  • Although we do not often think about it, ice plays a role in all of our lives. Scientists study ice on Earth and are also very interested in discovering other planetary bodies on which ice, particularly water ice, exists.


For each child:

For the facilitator:


  • Prepare an area large enough for the children to be able to comfortably mingle.
  • Make copies of Ice Bingo cards.
  • Prepare an Ice Investigator Journal for each child. Print the journal pages and staple them along the left margin with a piece of cardstock for the back. Plan to store the journals between activities until you have completed all of the activities.


  1. Ask the children what they know about ice.Where is ice found on Earth? Does it exist elsewhere in our solar system? Where?
  2. Distribute Ice Bingo cards and pens or pencils to the children. Ask the children to look at the gray colored squares on their Ice Bingo card. These represent experiences with ice that some of them here may have had.
  3. Invite the children to play Ice Bingo! Their task will be to find participants who have had any of these experiences. They will have 5 minutes to find the largest number of people with different experiences. Each participant initials the square that represents the experience they have had.
  4. After 5 minutes, stop the game and reassemble the group. Ask if anyone was able to get initials in all 11 squares. Chances are that the farther north a child has lived, the more experiences he/she has had! Follow the game with a discussion of their experiences.
    • How do they describe ice — what are the properties and characteristics of ice?
    • What would cause ice to be slippery?
    • Why does a snowball, made of fluffy snow, stick together?
    • What did they learn about ice?
  5. Have the children look at the blue squares on their cards. Some of these squares contain information about ice on Earth and others about ice in our solar system. Invite the children to explore the role and importance of ice in our world and beyond!
    • On what other planets and moons are scientists studying, or searching for, ice?
    • What is happening with the sea ice at Earth's poles?
    • Do polar bears and penguins live at the same pole?
  6. Ask the children what more they would like to learn about ice, its properties, and the important role ice plays on Earth and in the solar system.


Provide each child with an Ice Investigator Journal. Have them write their names on the front of their journals. Invite them to write in their journals three things they know about ice and some things they want to discover. Tell them that they will be investigating the properties of ice in some upcoming experiments!

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