Frozen Ice Play

The most successful school holiday program we ever ran with Sydney Creative Play was also one of the most enjoyable: a morning of ice play! it probably didn’t hurt that we vaguely tied it into the massive popularity of the movie “Frozen” and had a fair few “Elsas” turn up to play.

The premise was simple, but took a fair bit of prep work on the part of our volunteers: fill the warehouse with different ice-themed activities. It was a fun creative challenge to come up with ideas for what we could freeze.

The photo above started out as a science experiment. We filled a tray with ice cubes and sprinkled baking soda on them. Then we gave the kids jars of vinegar mixed with food colouring and eye droppers which led to a big fizzy mess. Add a few kitchen utensils and you’ve got a great recipe for sensory play.

Bringing another dimension to the sensory play were the nature ice bins where we’d frozen flowers and herbs. The results were not just beautiful to look at, but smelled wonderful as they began to melt.

Some had food colouring or sparkles mixed into the ice. We put them in a tray atop leaves and twigs and added magnifying glasses and spray bottles of warm water to help aid the melting process.

Another favourite which we’ve repeated at a few different playgroups since is frozen “dinosaur eggs”. They’re simple to make – grab one of those $3 tubes of plastic dinosaurs from Kmart (if your house isn’t already filled with them), squeeze them into balloons and fill with water. Not too much – just enough to cover the dino and reasonably pass for an egg. Freeze overnight.

We covered ours in mud for an extra messy and fun excavation. You can add warm water bottles to help melt them. Salt also works and creates cool patterns in the ice. I’m pretty sure our kids ended up smashing them on the ground to get those dinos!

Another fun excavation activity was these rainbow towers – a great way to re-use any mardi gras beads you have lying around! But really you could do this with any colour objects. The key is to just freeze in layers, with a couple hours in between each.

Bringing more of an “art” element into it, we had two ice-painting options. These paint cubes were gorgeous, fun to make and paint with! I just mixed washable paints with water in various colours and ice mould shapes: glittery green, silver and gold stars, hot pink love hearts, blue and purple “galaxy” cubes.

A super simple activity that doesn’t require much pre-preparation: put some ice cubes in a bowl and add water colour paints. Instant fun!

There are so many variations you can do on ice play and it’s especially great in this hot weather. I don’t think I’ve ever met a kid who didn’t enjoy playing with ice. Just make sure you’ve got plenty of towels on hand 🙂

How have you incorporated ice into your art or play? I’d love to see photos!

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