When Jennifer Bullock decided to homeschool her three daughters this semester, she wanted to bring back the playfulness of recess that so many kids are missing.

“I told them at the beginning of this year that we are going to build the most epic fort ever, because at school they always got their forts trampled on or squished,” Bullock said.

But her mission to build a fort between homeschool classes quickly turned into a hands-on project spanning three different subjects. The result was a full-sized igloo, made up of hundreds of coloured ice bricks.

“[It was] an art project, engineering project, and science project all in one,” says Bullock, who helped her three daughters Evalee, 12, Georgia, 10, and Mia build the structure, which they say uses more than 1,500 bricks of ice.

“They started and then they figured out, hey it’s like Lego blocks,” explains Bullock. “So they knew to not keep stacking and instead cross-pattern.”

The girls used dozens of regular plastic containers filled with food colouring and water to make the ice bricks, a process that took three weeks.

“It’s been really fun,” says Evalee. “It’s been kind of frustrating. Really hard, really cold.” Each day the girls pour warm water over the top of the structure, allowing it to fill in the cracks, freeze, and solidify the igloo.

The family says at night they put a light inside the igloo to make it dazzle with colour, and when the sun shines through it during the day it is a spectacle.

“It’s fantastic. Looks amazing, what they’ve done,” says Chris Bullock, the girls’ father. “And all the ideas they’ve come up with to personalize it and make it their own. They’re far more creative than I. They take after their mother.”

What do the girls enjoy doing with the igloo now? “We like to chill with our chickens,” says Evalee. The family has a coop on the property, filled with about two dozen birds. “We just like to sit around and look at our amazing masterpiece.”

“We’re going to use it as a little outdoor classroom,” says Bullock. “I sit in it and have coffee with the kids and snack time. Basically it’s like a little clubhouse for the winter.”

And now that the girls have learned a few lessons from their first home schooling project, they’re planning to continue building.

“Maybe a mini igloo for our chickens or something,” says Evalee. “Maybe a dog house for the dog.”