Learning About Hot and Cold

Feeling water in a bowl

We’ve been experimenting lately… experimenting with science!

Yes, Ivan is blind and cognitively delayed, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have an inquisitive mind! He’s very interested in how things work and why things move they way they do or make the sounds they make. He loves to get his hands involved and touch and explore.

Isn’t this the basic idea behind science experiments?

Here is a simple science experiment that Ivan has so much fun with! In this experiment we learn about HOT and COLD! This is a great way to encourage your child to touch, think and explore. It’s also a wonderful activity to encourage communication and language comprehension. We’re not just saying the words “hot” and “cold,” we’re really feeling it!


What You’ll Need:

  • two ziplock bags
  • cold and warm water
  • a big plastic bowl
  • lots of patience and towels for drying off!


Conducting Your Experiment

touching the hot and cold bags

  1. Begin by filling your ziplock bags with water, one hot and one cold. Obviously you don’t want your hot water to be scalding, but you do want the difference in temperature to be significant and noticeable. We were able to get a very warm bag and a very cold bag just using our tap water.
  2. Place the bags in front of your child. Encourage him to touch the bags with both hands and talk about how they are different.
  3. A fun game to play at this point is to touch the warm bag until your hand is acclimated, then switch to the cold bag. Oh! That’s really cold! Now touch the cold bag until your hand is acclimated and switch to the warm bag. Oh! That seems even warmer than it did before! Why would that be?
  4. Pick up the bags and shake them. Listen to the sound of water in the bags. The bags are full of water but right now they are dry. What would happen if the bags opened up?
  5. Place the bags in your big bowl and press on one until it pops open (it actually doesn’t take much pressure to do this). We popped the hot bag first. Now we have a bowl of warm water with a cold bag floating in it. Doesn’t that feel strange? The water is warm but the bag is cold!
  6. Now if you pop the cold bag what will happen? Is the water still warm? How would you describe the water now?


What Else Can You Do?

putting feetin the water!

  1. Our hands are great for feeling temperatures… But what about feet?
  2. If your child has vision (and you can handle the mess!) you could try putting a couple drops of blue food coloring in the cold bag and red food coloring in the hot bag. Now what happens when the bags both open and mix together?
  3. How about moving this up a scale? You could take a warm bath and place a couple of cold bags in the water. How does that feel? What happens when they open?


Experiment, have fun and let your child’s curiosity be your guide! If you have more ideas about how to play with hot and cold, please let us know in the comments!



Learning about hot and cold


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