Ice Excavation is a super fun sensory activity for kids of all ages. Ive seen this alot on Pinterest and other blogs, but took this long to try. This sensory science activity builds fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, concentration, patience & sense of achievement. It was a great hit in our house and my LOs asked for more after almost an hour of play. 😀
What you need
- Toys ( we used farm animals & birds)
- Bowl or container – that can go in freezer
- Food Color (optional)
- Warm Water
- Squeeze Bottle, Dropper, Syringe
- Toy Hammer, fork, spoon, tong, or any kitchen utensils – to help break ice
- To make the ice block – Add some toys in a bowl, fill with water, add 2 drops of food color and freeze overnight.
- You could add any toys, make it themed for more fun- dinosaurs, mermaid, lego, alphabets (can create sight words), fishes(ocean).. The possibilities are endless. Depending on your kids age you can also add sequins, glitter, shells, gems, beads, etc.
- Freeze in layers for a more distributed ice block. (Eg. Add some gems, water and freeze, then add more water to it, add shells and freeze.. )
- To Play – Remove the ice block, place it in a tray.
- If too tight to remove, run the frozen bowl under water to loosen the ice block.
- Let your LOs use salt, warm water, toy hammer, or any kitchen tools to break the ice and remove the toys out of it.
- If you have older kids, explain the science behind the activity. You could also color the salt and water for more colorful fun.
- Happy Excavating!
We had two ice blocks- one with farm animals and the other with birds. Picked this theme because we have been learning about birds this week- animals that have wings and some can fly. Also farm animals are Miss As all time favorite.
Miss A(almost 3 yrs) choose farm animals and Miss D(22 months) was happy with birds. Miss A loved sprinkling salt over the ice and using squeeze bottles to pour warm water (you could also use droppers, syringe or spray bottles). She also used toy hammer, spoon, fork & tong to dig in. Once she understood that salt and warm water helps break the ice easily, she dumped almost a shaker full of salt onto the ice and squeezed almost 3 bottles of warm water. She was very excited to dig the animals out.
Miss D wasnt worried about excavating, she just had fun feeling the ice, handling spoon to pour salt onto the ice block and pouring warm water on it. It eventually melted the ice. Once Miss A was done with her ice block she helped her sis to dig the birds out. We spoke about different animals and birds and how birds fly with the help of wings. Also how some birds like chicken, duck live on the farm. Some learning along with fun 👍 We loved this activity so much & will be doing it again soon before the weather gets cold 😀 (any ideas for theme?? )