Marbellous fun in the snow!

Well, with the recent (very surprising) cold snap and loads of snow here in Brighton, I’ve been looking for fun activities that I can do with Gammon and Chips whilst being snowed-in. I saw a pic of these really cool Ice Marbles on Pinterest (photo courtesy of Queen Vanna with caption by Slay My Boredom) and thought we could give them a go – they sounded simple enough to make. This is what they are supposed to look like.

Giant ice marbles made with balloons and food colouring

Giant ice marbles made with balloons and food colouring


So, we got out all our ingredients, which (for us) consisted of:

  • 1 packet of multicoloured balloons (they don’t need to be coloured at all, but we had fun mixing up the food colouring mixture to match the balloon colour)
  • A selection of food colourings, which you can mix to form new colours (e.g. yellow + red = orange)
  • A funnel
  • A jug of water


The ingredients

The ingredients

We (very stupidly) followed the instructions on the original photos, which clearly states to ‘fill balloons with water and add food colouring’. This meant that we mixed the colours up in the water first and (even more stupidly) faffed around with a funnel trying to get the water into the balloons (it definitely helped if we blew the balloon up first to stretch it, and then stretched the neck of the balloon out while pouring, so the pressure on the neck would force the water down to the body of the balloon.

But what we should have done (doh!) was to put a few drops of food colouring into the un-blown-up balloon, put the lip of the balloon over the tap nozzle, and then slowly fill the balloon up with water (the force of the tap helps the water swell the balloon).

Mixing, mixing, mixing

Gammon mixing, mixing, mixing

Once the balloon is about the size of a grapefruit, you carefully take it off the tap nozzle and tie a knot in it (this is much easier to do than with normal ‘air’ balloons, as the water naturally stretches the neck, giving you loads of space to tie your knot).

Then place all the filled balloons outside in the snow.

What I should add at this point is that, the whole time we were filling up the balloons, there was a blizzard howling outside. Snowflakes were about the size of snails, and the wind was whipping the snow up into a frenzy, like the beanstalk giant had shaken his head from above after running out of Head & Shoulders shampoo.

At precisely the time we rugged up to go adventuring in the snow to place the balloons, the blizzard magically disappeared and turned into blue skies and sunshine. And the snow instantly started melting.

Balloon marbles ready to freeze!

Balloon marbles ready to freeze!

We lined them up next to the wall regardless, trying to find the only place in the garden which the sun wasn’t shining directly onto at the time. Afterwards, my engineer husband (Doug) told me I shouldn’t have put them so close to the wall as it would shield them from the cold – doh!

Anyway, we covered them with snow and left them overnight.


And (drumroll), what do you think happened, hmmm?

Well… sod bloody all, that’s what!

I went to check on them the next morning, and they were the same blobbery consistency they were when I left them, only now they were bloody freezing! They were so cold that I reckon my tongue would have got stuck if I’d tried to lick them (I didn’t, you’ll be pleased to know, but only because we have a resident fox who I know had been roaming the garden because I could see his footprints, and I wasn’t sure if he would have thought our marbles were the coolest thing since dead squirrels and want to mark his territory on them).

Balloons covered with snow

Balloons covered with snow

So what did I do in an attempt to save face with Gammon, who was already asking me if he could check on the marbles?

I told him it was too cold for him to go outside and carefully smuggled them into our chest freezer while he was engrossed in an episode of Mike The Knight – although I did leave the purple and orange ones outside, just in case the temperature gets down to a hedgehog’s toenail and Mother Nature decides to make this science experiment actually work.

So, after about 24 hours in the freezer, I went to check on them, and to my surprise, they were feeling pretty solid and icy in places.

Help! Someone's killed Pac-Man!

Help! Someone’s killed Pac-Man!

Then we had a slight mishap.

I announced that I was making Quorn bolognese for dinner. Doug silently rebelled and started rooting around in the chest freezer for some ‘proper bolognese’ for him to heat up. Next thing I hear is a word that rhymes with ‘pollacks’ and the floor and freezer are covered in bright yellow liquid.

We manage to save some of the yellow marble which, to my huge surprise has actually frozen somewhat.

It doesn’t really resemble a marble as such, as I think it’s been too tightly wedged between a packet of Fish Fingers and a loaf of Kingsmill, but I squash it together a bit, turn it round to its ‘good side’, take it outside and place it next to the purple and orange balloons – hmmmm. Passable I suppose.

Not a huge success, but it could be worse!

Not a huge success, but it could be worse!

So hopefully it will be cold enough outside tonight for the yellow one not to melt while the remaining two in the freezer work their magic. Then I can swap them with the purple and orange ones outside (I went shopping today – the freezer is pretty chockers!) and we might even eventually have a full set.

Well, we’ll see.

I’m holding about as much breath as the balloons themselves… but watch this space!

I will report back.

In the meantime, keep warm!

If you like what you read on my blog, Gammon and Chips, then why not VOTE for GAMMON AND CHIPS in the 2013 MAD Blog Awards. We’re a Finalist in the Best Writer and Best Family Fun categories, but as a newbie blogger, I NEED YOUR VOTE! Here is how to vote. Thanks very much!

23 thoughts on “Marbellous fun in the snow!

  1. What a hoot! Think I’ll give this a miss ;-))
    My Doug would have been rooting about for proper bolognese too. Actually mine is always annoying me by rearranging things in the freezer anyway.

    • Yes, those Dougs can be quite troublesome, can’t they! He did mention that we are now only one step away from mung beans now that I am trying to cook Quorn! 🙂

  2. I did this Maddie with the last snowfall! I saw it on Facebook and thought mad! so I gave it a go, great fun, my daughter wasn’t so keen as she couldn’t throw the “cold balls” 🙂

  3. HA HA. We tried this. Exactly the same results. Water and dye everywhere: didn’t freeze: tried freezer: more water everywhere: no food colouring left for birthday cake (grr!): cross mother: disappointed kids! 0 on the MAGIC score card from the Rymans.
    Put the Octonauts on and give up trying to be a good mother…

    • Fun though. Cold fun. The yellow one has now pretty much melted and Gammon just stamped on what was left of it, so got 2 in freezer and 2 outside (which will go into freezer once I make more room!) Oh dear! A zero from the Ryman’s isn’t good! 🙂

      • It was a particularly grey day which ended in a screaming pile of cold angry toddler. Up there with the blood boiling disastrous chocolate crispy cake making last week when I almost threw small child through the double glazing. #takeachillpill!

  4. Teehee, the problem with my original blog post going viral on pinterest is that people added their own directions – I don’t understand when someone leaves a comment about “how to get the water IN to the balloon?” They’re just water balloons with the dye already in there!! Also, they’re GIANT icecubes. Icecubes in a regular icecube tray in the freezer take FOREVER to freeze, and these take even longer than that – works if it’s well well well below freezing outside, not just hovering around the freezing mark. At least you got a great story out of the deal!! =)

    • Yes, it’s hard to control things on the internet, isn’t it! Well done for coming up with the original post Queen Vanna! I’m not surprised at all that it went viral. Your marbles looked amazing! Mine are still in the freezer (apart from the one that my hubby dropped). But it was great fun and a brilliant way to keep my toddler entertained on a snowed-in day. 🙂

  5. wow did they ever actually freeze properly? I saw this on FB and wanted to try, however by the time i remembered a few days later to get some food colouring it has warmed up!

    Thanks for linking up for #magicmoments 🙂 x

    • I’ve still got 4 in the freezer and they are feeling pretty solid. I’ve just shifted one around (that was still a bit watery) so I reckon Gammon and Chips have some fun coming up in the next day or two! (which will probably last for about 8 minutes, but hey ho! 🙂

  6. Pingback: Marbellous fun in the freezer | Gammon and Chips

Leave a Reply